Posted on: Sun, 07/07/2019 - 10:57 By: admin
Senate Bill 137 or the Comprehensive Anti-Discrimination Act of 2019

Discrimination, in any shape or form, has no place in Philippine society.

While the Philippines has come a long way in terms of being an open and equitable society, Sen. Sonny Angara said there is still a lot more to be done to totally eliminate all forms of discrimination in the country.

“Discrimination remains a problem be it for women, children, persons with disabilities or the LGBTQ community. We are currently enjoying remarkable economic growth, but while there is still discrimination taking place, we cannot call ourselves a truly progressive nation,” Angara said.

In line with this, Angara has filed Senate Bill 137 or the Comprehensive Anti-Discrimination Act of 2019, to cover as wide a range of discriminatory practices as possible.

“Araw araw marami sa ating kababayan ang nakakaranas ng ibat ibang uri ng pang-aapi. Karaniwan ang mga nagaganap na diskriminasyon ay inaakalang normal o katanggap tanggap ng mga taong gumagawa nito,” said Angara, who is in his second term in the Senate.

“Nais nating maintindihan ng lahat kung anong mga gawain, salita o polisiya na maituturing na diskriminasyon o pang-aapi sa kapwa,” he added.

The bill lists 13 ‘acts of discrimination’ that covers a broad spectrum of actions and the consequences of these on the affected parties.

As a general rule, discrimination based on these protected attributes: age, racial or ethnic origin, religious belief, 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, is prohibited.

It will be deemed illegal for any person to commit any acts that promote and encourage stigma. This includes content in the media and educational textbooks.

No person will be denied his political, civil and cultural rights.

A person cannot be refused admission, denied honors or scholarships or be expelled from any educational institution on the basis of the protected attributes.

It is also illegal to deny the right to expression, whether it is in the form of speech, deportment, dress, bodily characteristics or choice of name.

“There have been instances in the past where transgender students were prohibited from taking part in their graduation rites for cross dressing. This is one example of discrimination,” Angara said.

A person cannot be denied employment, refused promotion or even terminated on the basis of the protected attributes.

No person will be denied access to goods and services, including being refused entry into an establishment.

The other acts of discrimination included in the bill are: the denial of the right to organize; inflicting harm on health and well-being; engaging in profiling; abuses by state and non-state actors; detention and confinement; inciting hatred or violence; and other analogous circumstances.

The bill prescribes a penalty of one to six years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to P500,000 for any person found to have committed acts of discrimination.

“Discrimination is a problem that is not confined to a few people alone. It concerns everyone. No one should feel helpless when faced with discrimination. We appeal to our colleagues to support this bill,” Angara said.