Lower House panel approves anti-discriminatory bill

The Committee on Women and Gender Equality at the House of Representatives approves a bill that will prevent discriminatory practices based on sex, sexual orientation or gender identity by proscribing and penalizing discriminatory practices.

“It is a basic right of every person, whether they are bisexual, homosexual, or heterosexual, to be free from any form of discrimination. As a representative of a marginalized group in Congress and as a woman, I support House Bill 5687 and I push for equal opportunity for all,” said AAMBIS-Owa Party list Representative Sharon Garin, a sponsor of the measure.

If HB 5687 becomes the Anti-SOGI Discrimination Act, it shall be unlawful for employers to include sexual orientation or gender identity, as well as the disclosure of sexual orientation, in the criteria for hiring, promotion, transfer, work assignment, dismissal of workers, and other human resource movement and other terms and conditions of employment.

Schools are not to refuse admission or expel a person from any educational or training institution on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Any person who commits any SOGI-related discriminatory practice shall be penalized by a fine of not less than One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000) and / or imprisonment of not less than one (1) year but not more than six (6) years, at the discretion of the court.

In addition, the court may impose upon a person found to have committed any of the prohibited acts the rendition of community service in terms of attendance in human rights education’s familiarization with and exposure to the plight of the victims.

If a graver offense motivated by bias, prejudice, or hatred against sexual orientation or gender identity is committed, such shall be meted the corresponding maximum penalties depending on the severity of the offenses.