Metro Manila, Philippines— The House Committee on Women and Gender Equality has approved the Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Gender Expression, or Sex Characteristics (SOGIESC) bill.

The panel’s approval was confirmed by Gabriela party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas on Tuesday after the committee deliberated on the technical working group report.

The report consolidated House Bills No. 222, 460, 3418, 3702, 4277, 5551, 6003, and 7036, and other proposed measures aiming to ban discrimination of people on the basis of their SOGIESC.

“This is a step towards the long-overdue enactment of legislation which will prohibit all forms of discrimination and harassment against the LGBTQIA+ community,” Brosas said in a statement.

Naninindigan kami na karapatan ng bawat miyembro ng LGBTQIA+ na makatamasa ng pantay na karapatan sa edukasyon, trabaho, serbisyong kalusugan, at iba pa ng walang takot at pangamba,” she added.

[Translation: We stand firm that it is the right of each member of the LGBTQIA+ community to have fair rights in education, work, healthcare services, and others without any fear.]

Several sectors have expressed concerns on the pace of the bill’s legislative procedures under the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva has accused SOGIESC bill advocates of working on the legalization of same-sex marriage in the country.

Brosas hopes both chambers of Congress “will heed the call of the Filipino people” by passing the bill to address the “long-standing discrimination against LGBTQIA+ in Philippine society.”