Anti-discrimination bill for LGBTs pushed

Dinagat Islands Rep. Kaka J. Bag-ao has filed a bill seeking to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity (SOGI).

House Bill 51 or the “Anti-Discrimination Act” defines and penalizes practices that unjustly discriminate LGBTs in the criteria for hiring, promotion, transfer, designation, work assignment, re-assignment, dismissal of workers and other human resource movement and action.

“Our lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders (LGBTs) continue to be oppressed by the iniquitous treatment of society at large, primarily because of misconceptions and ignorance. Sadly for our democracy, LGBTs are still considered second class citizens when they try to exercise the rights to which they are rightfully entitled,” said Bag-ao.

“Prejudicial beliefs and policies based on sexual orientation and gender identity in schools, workplaces, commercial establishments and public service limit the exercise and enjoyment of basic human rights and fundamental freedoms,” Bag-ao added.

The bill penalizes educational and training institution that shall refuse to admit or expel a person based on SOGI.

HB 51 also prohibits any person to deny access to public or private medical and other health services open to the general public on the basis of such person’s sexual orientation.

It likewise rules out denial of an application or revocation of professional or other similar kind of licenses, clearance certification or other similar document issued by the government.

The bill protects any person from denial of access to or use of establishments, facilities, utilities or services, including housing, open to the general public on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Further, HB 51 shall not allow any person to be forced or be subjected to undertake any medical or psychological examination to determine or alter the person’s SOGI.

Refusal or revocation of accreditation, formal recognition, registration to organize any group, political party, institution or establishment in educational institutions, workplaces, communities and other settings solely on the basis of SOGI of the members shall also be considered illegal.

The inclusion of SOGI concerns in all police stations shall also be recommended and the Women and Children’s Desk shall be assigned to act on any SOGI-related complaints or cases. They shall also undergo appropriate trainings with human rights-based approach.

For any violators of this act, HB 51 imposes a penalty of P100,000 but not more than P500,000 or imprisonment of not less than one year but not more than six years.