Solon wants to add SOGIE provisions in anti-discrimination bill

MANILA — A lawmaker at the House of Representatives on Wednesday vowed to craft an improved version of the comprehensive anti-discrimination bill to include certain provisions from the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) Equality bill.

Bagong Henerasyon party-list Rep. Bernadette Herrera, the author of the SOGIE bill, made the statement as she welcomed the approach of Senator Sonny Angara in including SOGIE discrimination as part of an anti-discrimination bill that includes other marginalized sectors as well.

“I note, however, that Senator Angara’s Senate Bill 137 does not have provisions which are similar to what is in the SOGIE Equality bill which the House approved and transmitted to the Senate in the 17th Congress, nor in the SOGIE Equality bill pending in the House in the current 18th Congress,” Herrera said.

Herrera particularly noted that some prohibited acts of discrimination listed on the House bill are not included in the Senate bill.

She added that the House SOGIE Equality bill states that the enforcement is the concern of all law enforcers, including the police and other stakeholders, as compared to SB 137, which identified the Commission on Human Rights as the sole government body enforcer.

“What is important to us in the House is that all marginalized sectors and persons who are being discriminated against – including the LGBTQI+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex) are given equal protection of, due process, access, and welfare under all our laws,” she said.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Wednesday announced that President Rodrigo Duterte would certify an all-encompassing “anti-discriminatory bill” in place of the current proposed measure that sought to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

This comprehensive anti-discriminatory bill, as proposed by Angara, seeks to prohibit discrimination 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.

The bill, otherwise known as the proposed Comprehensive Anti-Discriminatory Act, covers 13 acts of discrimination.

Under the bill, it will be deemed illegal for any person to commit any acts that promote and encourage stigma, including 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.

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.

Other acts of discrimination listed 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.   Filane Mikee Cervantes / PNA –