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Samal gov’t tells resorts to invest in facilities after gender discrimination incident

SAMAL Mayor Al David T. Uy called on tourism establishments to ensure that they have suitable and enough facilities that will cater to everyone following an alleged discrimination incident between a transgender woman and the management of a popular beach resort last week.

“Well, the world is changing and we need to adopt also. The respect should be there always,” he said in a phone interview.

The mayor said the island’s city council is now looking into drafting an ordinance against discrimination.

“As of now our city council is studying it and I think they have plans to craft a local ordinance since the SOGIE (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Expression) bill is still being debated in the Congress,” Mr. Uy said.

Isla Reta Beach Resort came under fire last week after Shannon Remotigue Gonzaga, a transgender woman, narrated on her Facebook account her disappointment over the resort for prohibiting her to use the bathroom for women.

In response, resort owner Mario Reta issued a statement announcing that they will no longer accommodate transgenders due to the lack of facilities for them. The statement prompted further criticisms over social media.

“The incident was very unfortunate, it could have been handled properly with cooler heads. It really created firestorm in social media,” the mayor said.

Department of Tourism-Davao Regional Director Tanya Rabat-Tan, meanwhile, said tourism establishments must abide by existing laws on gender and development.

She also said the Tourism department is an advocate of gender equality and mainstreaming, and does not tolerate any form of gender-based harassment nor discrimination. — Maya M. Padillo

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