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Geraldine Batista Roman (born April 23, 1967) is a Filipino journalist and politician. She was elected as the Representative of the 1st District of Bataan following the 2016 Philippine elections, becoming the first openly transgender woman elected to the Congress of the Philippines.[2][3][4] She was named as one of the 100 Leading Global Thinkers of 2016 by US-based Foreign Policy magazine; one of "13 Inspiring Women of 2016" list by Time magazine. [5][6]

Geraldine Roman
Member of the Philippine House of Representatives from Bataan's First District
Assumed office
June 30, 2016
Preceded byHerminia Roman
Personal details
Born (1967-04-23) April 23, 1967 (age 52)
Bataan, Philippines
Political partyPDP-Laban (2017–present)[1]
Liberal Party (until 2017)
Alma materUniversity of the Philippines
University of the Basque Country
ProfessionJournalist, politician

BiographyEdit

Geraldine Roman, born in 1967,[7] was the second of four children born into the family of politicians Herminia Roman and Antonino Roman, Jr.[8] She spent her early childhood in Orani, Bataan.[7] She was teased by her classmates but her father taught her to be confident.[9]

Roman attended the Ateneo de Manila University for her elementary and high school studies. For her collegiate studies, she attended the University of the Philippines. She managed to secure a scholarship to pursue journalism at the University of the Basque Country in Spain and attained two Master's degrees.[10] She worked in Spain as a senior editor for the Spanish News Agency before returning to the Philippines in 2012 to take care of her father, who was seriously ill by that time.[9]

Political careerEdit

CongressEdit

During the 2016 Philippine elections, Roman ran under the Liberal Party banner for the position of 1st District Representative for Bataan in the House of Representatives. She competed against Hermosa mayor Danilo Malana of Aksyon Demokratiko and won with more than 62% of the total votes and became the first ever transgender congresswoman in the Congress of the Philippines. Roman succeeded the incumbent, her mother Hermina Roman, who had a limited term.[8]

She, along with other elected lawmakers (collectively known as "equality champs"), launched the passage of the anti-discrimination bill on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity (now known as the SOGIE Equality Bill) through a speech in the House of Representatives that garnered international support for LGBT rights in the Philippines.[11] She also filed bills regarding eco-tourism, livelihood enhancements, agriculture advancements, health, and education, which were the advocacies of her family, and were focused on the first district of Bataan. She was named as one of the "13 Inspiring Women of 2016" by Time magazine in October 2016.[12][13] She left the Liberal Party in May 2017 and transferred to PDP–Laban, the current ruling political party of the Philippines, to hasten the House passage of the bills that she supported.[1] In September 2017, the SOGIE Equality Bill passed unanimously in the House of Representatives, after 17 years of political limbo, with no lawmakers voting against it. In January 2018, Roman, along with the House Speaker, filed House Bill 6595 (the Civil Partnership Bill), which seeks to legalize civil unions, regardless of gender.[14] In February, Roman became the first transgender official of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.[15] In August 2018, she filed the Regional Investment and Infrastructure Council Act, which sought to create special economic zones in Luzon.[16] In September, Roman became the first committee chair of the newly-created House Committee on Disaster Management.[17] In October, she again pushed for the same-sex civil union bill, adding that the "sky will not fall" if the bill is passed.[18] During the same month, she filed her certificate of candidacy for reelection in her district.[19] In November 2018, during the first meeting of the House Committee on Disaster Management which she chairs, Roman prioritized the rehabilitation of the war-torn Islamic City of Marawi.[20]

In the 2019 Philippine elections, Roman ran under the PDP–Laban banner for the position of 1st District Representative for Bataan in the House of Representatives. She competed against Emelita Justo Lubag of Katipunan ng Demokratikong Pilipino and won with 91% of the total votes.

Committee MembershipsEdit

  • Veterans Affairs and Welfare, Chairperson
  • Women and Gender Equality, Vice Chairperson
  • Appropriations, Member of the Majority
  • Climate Change, Member of the Majority
  • Poverty Alleviation, Member of the Majority
  • Sustainable Development Goals, Member of the Majority

House Measures AuthoredEdit

  • HB05225

AN ACT MANDATING THE PROVISION OF FREE WI-FI INTERNET ACCESS IN PUBLIC AREAS

Status: Republic Act RA10929 enacted on 2017-08-02

  • HB05563

AN ACT DECLARING APRIL 21 OF EVERY YEAR A SPECIAL NONWORKING HOLIDAY IN THE MUNICIPALITY OF ORANI, PROVINCE OF BATAAN, IN COMMEMORATION OF ITS FOUNDING ANNIVERSARY, TO BE KNOWN AS "ORANI FOUNDATION DAY"

Status: Republic Act RA11145 enacted on 2018-11-09

  • HB06178

AN ACT DECLARING JANUARY 11 OF EVERY YEAR A SPECIAL NONWORKING HOLIDAY IN THE PROVINCE OF BATAAN IN COMMEMORATION OF ITS FOUNDING ANNIVERSARY, TO BE KNOWN AS " BATAAN FOUNDATION DAY "

Status: Republic Act RA11138 enacted on 2018-11-09

  • HB07525

AN ACT INCREASING THE MONTHLY PENSION OF SENIOR VETERANS THEREBY AMENDING RA 6948, AS AMENDED

Status: Republic Act RA11164 enacted on 2018-12-20

  • HB08636

AN ACT INSTITUTIONALIZING A NATIONAL INTEGRATED CANCER CONTROL PROGRAM AND APPROPRIATING FUNDS THEREFOR

Status: Republic Act RA11215 enacted on 2019-02-14

  • HB08794

AN ACT DEFINING GENDER-BASED SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN STREETS, PUBLIC SPACES, ONLINE, WORKPLACES, AND EDUCATIONAL OR TRAINING INSTITUTIONS, PROVIDING PROTECTIVE MEASURES AND PRESCRIBING PENALTIES THEREFOR

Status: Republic Act RA11313 enacted on 2019-04-17

Political positionsEdit

FederalismEdit

Roman expressed her support for a federal form of government in the Philippines, but stated that she will introduce a clause that aims to guarantee the country's territorial integrity as she perceives that a federal system without such clause will lead to separatism due to the country's various ethnic groups, geographies, and regionalism. She cited the Spanish federal system as a possible reference for the Philippines' federal prospects.[21]

Habeas corpusEdit

Roman voted to approve a bill to reinstate the death penalty in the Philippines during its final reading in March 29, 2017, which met criticism online. She explained that she needed to compromise in order for her other advocacies and projects to push through. Earlier, she expressed opposition to the bill and called for the respect of the rights of convicts for reformation. Roman held a survey to gauge the views of her constituents in first district of Bataan and 85 percent of participants in a survey she conducted favored death penalty.[22]

Same-sex marriageEdit

Roman is the vice-chairperson of the Women And Gender Equality Committee of the Philippine House of Representatives.[23] She supports same-sex civil unions for the Philippines, but said the first priority should be an anti-discrimination law, followed by a revision of the family code. She believes that at the present time, a marriage equality bill will not pass in Congress, due to the present status quo, which is why campaigning for it should be a top priority in the coming decades. In September 2017, the SOGIE Equality Bill passed in the House. In late 2017, Roman filed a civil union bill that caters to both heterosexual couples and non-heterosexual couples. The bill is backed by the majority of lawmakers in the House of Representatives, including the House Speaker.[24]

Health servicesEdit

Roman is a member of the Health Committee of the House of Representatives.[23] She has filed a Cancer Institute bill in the House which was passed into law last February of this year as well as a Caregiver's bill. Roman supports the Mental Health Law, which was passed in 2017. She has filed a Hospitals Classification Bill which seeks to standardize the equipment, facilities, and services of hospitals on the basis of their level of classification.

War veterans' rightsEdit

Roman is an advocate for war veteran rights in the Philippines. She is the incumbent Chairperson for the Veteran Affairs and Welfare Committee in the House of Representatives. She has filed a bill seeking to increase the monthly pension of Filipino war veterans. [23]

TourismEdit

Roman is an avid fan of history, culture, and the environment. She stated that her love for culture and the environment developed at home and was polished during her almost 20 years of stay in Spain, where she learned a lot about history and received two master's degrees. She has filed bills for the protection and conservation of numerous tourist sites in the first district of Bataan.[25]

EducationEdit

Roman supports higher education in the Philippines. She has filed the Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Students (UNIFAST) bill in the House of Representatives. Additionally, she has filed a bill which seeks to mandate the government to open all of its books to the people via online library.[25]

Indigenous people's rightsEdit

Roman has filed a bill seeking to increase the representation of indigenous peoples in the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, which is near her home province of Bataan.

Agriculture and aquacultureEdit

Roman has filed bills on the sustainability of agriculture and aquaculture in the province of Bataan. She has also filed the re-allotment of public lands and urban lands for agricultural lands.[25]

Personal lifeEdit

In the 1990s, Roman underwent sex reassignment surgery at age 26 in New York City and had her name legally changed. Her gender was also legally changed through a judicial process to the one she identifies with.[9][7] Roman's partner is a Spanish man in Spain, but they are not married.[26] Aside from her native Tagalog, she also speaks English, Spanish, French and Italian.[27] She is member of the "Academia Filipina de la lengua española". She is a practicing Catholic.[28]

Awards and recognitionsEdit

  • 100 Leading Global Thinkers of 2016 by US-based Foreign Policy magazine[29]
  • Part of "Inspiring Women of 2016" list by Time magazine[30]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Yellow no more: Roman, 3 other LP lawmakers jumping ship to PDP-Laban". Rappler. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
  2. ^ Robert Sawatzky (10 May 2016). "Philippines elects first transgender woman". CNN.
  3. ^ Chen, Heather (10 May 2016). "Geraldine Roman: First transgender politician elected in the Philippines". BBC News. Retrieved 10 May 2016.
  4. ^ Chen, Heather (10 May 2016). "Geraldine Roman: First transgender politician elected in the Philippines". BBC News. Retrieved 10 May 2016.
  5. ^ "Bataan Rep. Geraldine Roman receives int'l award for redefining governance". cnn.
  6. ^ "Geraldine Roman joins Hillary, Beyonce on list of Inspiring Women 2016". GMA News Online.
  7. ^ a b c Patel, Romil (14 May 2016). "Meet Geraldine Roman, Philippines' first transgender Congress politician with 'a beautiful message'". International Business Times. Retrieved 17 May 2016.
  8. ^ a b "Transgender bet worries which 'CR' to use in House". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Inquirer Central Luzon. 29 March 2016. Retrieved 10 May 2016.
  9. ^ a b c "Transgender politician poised for historic win in Catholic Philippines". Rappler. Agence France-Presse. 4 May 2016. Retrieved 10 May 2016.
  10. ^ Remoto, Danton (14 May 2016). "The fabulous Geraldine Roman". The Philippine Star. Lodestar. Retrieved 17 May 2016.
  11. ^ Cepeda, Mara. "Emotional Roman urges Congress to pass anti-discrimination bill". Rappler.
  12. ^ "These 13 Women Inspired Us in 2016". Time.
  13. ^ "Geraldine Roman joins Hillary, Beyonce on list of Inspiring Women 2016". GMA News Online.
  14. ^ "House tackles bill legalizing same sex, live-in partnerships". cnn.
  15. ^ "First transgender solon in PH joins military - Inquirer News". newsinfo.inquirer.net.
  16. ^ "Roman seeks to create special economic zones in Luzon". 2018-08-12.
  17. ^ "House creates 3 new committees".
  18. ^ "Roman: 'Sky will not fall' if same-sex civil union bill is passed".
  19. ^ "Rep. Geraldine Roman files COC, seeks reelection | Inquirer News".
  20. ^ "Roman's House panel stands with Marawi siege victims". 2018-11-23.
  21. ^ "Solon vows to introduce clause to guarantee PH territorial integrity - Inquirer News". newsinfo.inquirer.net.
  22. ^ "Transgender solon Roman on death penalty vote: Politics is compromise - Inquirer News". newsinfo.inquirer.net.
  23. ^ a b c "House of Representatives". www.congress.gov.ph.
  24. ^ "LGBT pioneer in Congress favors 'baby steps' in same-sex marriage". Manila Bulletin News.
  25. ^ a b c "House of Representatives". www.congress.gov.ph.
  26. ^ "Geraldine Roman on being the 1st transgender in Congress, beauty secrets, love, Duterte, Pope Francis & Pacquiao". The Philippine Star. May 29, 2016. Retrieved May 29, 2016. I’m not married. I have a partner of 18 years. He’s a Spanish man, a former cameraman for TV
  27. ^ Robinson, Julian (10 May 2016). "Transgender politician celebrates victory over 'bigotry, hatred and discrimination' after historic election win in the Philippines". Mail Online. Mail Online, Agence France-Presse. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
  28. ^ "Geraldine Roman "Just another politician who happens to be transgender"". CNN. May 17, 2016. Retrieved May 17, 2016. And while some see the influence of the church as a stumbling block, [Geraldine] Roman – a practicing Catholic – says she doesn't believe that to be true.
  29. ^ "Bataan Rep. Geraldine Roman receives int'l award for redefining governance". cnn.
  30. ^ "Geraldine Roman joins Hillary, Beyonce on list of Inspiring Women 2016". GMA News Online.