• Baguio passes anti-discrimination ordinance

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    BAGUIO CITY: The city council here passed an ordinance which prohibits discrimination and enforces equal protection of the law regardless of religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity, disability and age.

    Vice Mayor Edison Bilog, council presiding officer and principal author, said the approved measure is consistent with the principles of the 1987 Constitution, the international human rights and humanitarian standards, international treaties and existing Philippine laws.

    It prohibits 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.

    Violators of the ordinance will be fined from P1,000 to P5,000 or imprisonment of one to 30 days.

    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.”

    The measure also mandates the city government to adopt programs to ensure that inequity is prevented such as Discrimination and Stigma Reduction Program through 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 while an Anti-Discrimination Committee will be created within the first year of its implementation.

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

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