Senator Sonny Angara is pushing anew for the passage of the Comprehensive Anti-Discrimination bill which, he said, has been languishing in the legislative mill for decades.
“As the country celebrates Pride Month, we are joining the call to fight for equality and to end all forms of discrimination. We must protect every citizen against discriminatory acts in order to promote equal protection, equal opportunity, and to eliminate stereotypes and prejudices,” the veteran legislator said.
The seasoned lawmaker’s Senate Bill 948 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.
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.
Offenders may face penalties of not less than a year but not more than six years imprisonment, or a fine of not more than P500,000, or both.
“I’ve been filing anti-discrimination bills since my days in the Lower House. 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,” the youthful senator added.
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.