by Christopher Lloyd Caliwan
MANILA — The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Thursday urged establishments and government offices to put up a gender-sensitive comfort room as part of efforts to promote equality in all fields of social activity and combat discrimination.
“May gender-sensitive CR na ba kayo? (Do you have a gender-sensitive CR?) I encourage everyone, from the private sectors to all government offices, to put up restrooms like this bilang pagrespeto sa karapatan ng bawat isa, anuman ang kaniyang kasarian (as a sign of respect to the rights of everyone, regardless of gender),” PNP Human Rights Affairs Office (HRAO) chief, Brig. Gen. Dennis Siervo told reporters.
Siervo said in their Camp Crame office in Quezon City, they designated a gender-sensitive comfort room which is open to police personnel and civilians who have transactions in their office.
He said there are three comfort rooms in the said office — one for male, for female and the other with signage “Gender Sensitive Comfort Room, LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) or Guests.”
The PNP official’s remarks came after a janitress confronted Gretchen Custodio Diez, 28, a trans woman call center manager, who tried to use a women’s restroom in a mall in Quezon City last Tuesday.
The incident happened despite the city having an ordinance that penalizes discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression (SOGIE) which was passed in 2014.
Meanwhile, Brig. Gen. Joselito Esquivel Jr., Quezon City Police District (QCPD) director, said the argument between the transgender woman who allegedly vexed personnel of a mall in Araneta, Cubao by recording them and posting it live on social media was amicably settled after both parties decided to drop charges.
Report from Cubao Police Station showed that prior to the settlement, at about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, in a mall in Araneta, Cubao, a scuffle between Diez and personnel of the mall happened after the janitress prevented Diez from using a female comfort room.
The sanitation personnel got irked when Diez took to social media live to record the discrimination she was experiencing. She was then brought to the security office and subsequently to the nearby police station.
Later on, she was brought to the Anti-Cyber Crime Team in Camp Karingal for allegedly violating the cybercrime law but was brought back to the Cubao police station where an unjust vexation case was filed against her instead.
Diez also decided to file a countercharge against the mall personnel but after consulting with her lawyer, she decided to settle the case amicably where the janitress decided to drop her complaint and apologized to her.
Diez, however, will file charges against the mall’s management for violating the said ordinance. (PNA)