Council okays anti-discrimination ordinance

BAGUIO CITY – The city council approved on final reading the anti-discrimination ordinance which prohibits “discrimination and enforces equality before the law and equal protection of the law without any discrimination… on the basis of religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity, health status, disability and age.”

Principal author Vice-Mayor Edison Bilog said Ordinance No. 13 series of 2017 is consistent with the principles of the 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, the international human rights and humanitarian standards, the international treaties adhered to by the Philippines and existing Philippine laws.

Discrimination, as defined in the ordinance, refers to “a distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference made on the basis of disability, age, health status, sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity and religion which has the purpose or effect of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing of the human rights and fundamental freedoms in the civil, political, economic, social, cultural, or any other field of public life of a person.”

As per the measure, the following are prohibited acts:

Violations of civil and political rights: discrimination in political participation; discrimination in accessing public places, facilities, and public meetings; denial of right to organize; discrimination in education materials, advertisement, mass media; engaging in profiling; discrimination through speeches, utterances, acts of hatred, and similar acts; detention and confinement; and abuses by state and non-state actors.

Violations of economic, social, and cultural rights: denial of right to work; denial of right to education; denial of access to goods and services; discrimination on accommodation/lodging establishment; inflicting stigma; inciting others to commit acts of discrimination; and inflicting harm on health and well-being.

The measure mandates the city government to adopt the following programs to ensure that discrimination is prevented : Discrimination and Stigma Reduction Program through the Capacity Building and Education Campaign; Access to Scholarships, Skills, Employment and Livelihood Opportunities; Access to Legal Representation; Policy Review; and Social Protection Program.

The City Social Welfare and Development Office is tasked to enforce the provisions of the ordinance, implement the enumerated programs and monitor or take action on any complaint brought before it.

An Anti-Discrimination Committee is also mandated for creation within the first year of the measure’s implementation.

As provided in the ordinance, complaints referred to the barangay for conciliation and mediation purposes shall be in accordance with the provisions of the Local Government Code of 1991, as amended.

“Work-related discriminations shall be subject to the provisions of the Labor Code of the Philippines and other pertinent laws such as but not limited to the Magna Carta for Persons with Disability, Magna Carta for Senior Citizens, Child and Youth Welfare Code, Magna Carta for Women, and Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act;

“There is work-related discrimination when disability, age, health status, sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity, and religion are included in the criteria for hiring, promotion, and dismissal of workers, when the same are immaterial to the nature of the work required, and in the determination of employee compensation, training, incentives, privileges, benefits or allowances, and other terms and conditions of employment,” the measure provides.

“Discrimination due to the denial of an application or revocation of a professional license, clearance, certification or any other document issued by any government authority due to applicant’s disability, age, health status, sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity, and religion shall be handled by the appropriate administrative agencies of government which grants such license clearance, certification, and other documents without prejudice to recourse by the victims to the appropriate court and other concerned government agencies.”

Violators will be meted fines ranging from P1,000 to P5,000 or imprisonment of one to 30 days. /Aileen P. Refuerzo#


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