Senator renews call for passage of anti-discrimination bill

MANILA-- In line with the celebration of Pride Month, a senator on Wednesday renewed his call for the passage of the Comprehensive Anti-Discrimination bill to eliminate stereotypes and prejudices among citizens.

"We must protect every citizen against discriminatory acts in order to promote equal protection, equal opportunity, and to eliminate stereotypes and prejudices," Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara said in a statement.

Angara earlier filed Senate Bill 948 which seeks to penalize discriminatory practices based on age, racial or ethnic origin, religious belief or activity, political inclination or conviction, social class, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expressions, marital or relationship status, disability, HIV status, health status or medical history, language, physical features, or other status.

More than six years imprisonment, or a fine of not more than PHP500,000, or both may be faced by offenders who engage in any act of discrimination.

Under the proposed measure, acts of discrimination include promoting and encouraging stigma, inciting hatred or violence, inflicting harm on health and well-being, and engaging in profiling.

Denial of political, civil and cultural rights; denial of right to education, right to work, right to organize, right to expression; and, denial of access to goods and services on the basis of personal characteristics cited above will also be penalized.

All government agencies, private companies, and educational institutions will also be mandated to pursue and implement programs and policies that would enable an environment free of stigma and ensure that discrimination and abuse are prevented.

Angara, who has been filing anti-discrimination bills since his days in the Lower House, meanwhile, expressed hope that his measure would eventually be passed.

"Any form of discrimination threatens social instability and economic progress in our country. It is our hope that through this bill, discrimination will be minimized," Angara said.

Source: Philippines News Agency