A PANEL at the House of Representatives approved funding for the implementation of a measure prohibiting discrimination against race, color, origin, religion or religious affiliation.
The Committee on Appropriations said the unnumbered “Anti-Racial, Ethnic and Religious Discrimination Act” mandated the chairperson of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to include the program in its budget initially, and thereafter the amount necessary for the continued implementation will be included in the national budget.
The bill will prohibit the discrimination against political participation, employment, education and training, delivery of goods and services, land, business and other accommodation, access to public places, facilities and public meetings, advertisements or mass media, wrongful portrayal, through speech, utterances, acts of hatred and abuses.
A person whose employees or agents commit an act of discrimination in connection with his or her duty will also be held liable under the bill, unless it is established that the person took all reasonable steps to prevent the employee or agent from doing the discriminatory act.
The bill also coordinates CHR with the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) and the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) to prevent or deter the commission on acts of discrimination and to assist, review and recommend procedures for the resolution, settlement or prosecution of acts of discrimination.
People guilty of committing acts of discrimination will be penalized with arresto mayor or imprisonment for a period of 30 to 60 days and/or a fine ranging from P10,000 to P100,000, depending on gravity of the offenses and circumstances.
Zambales Rep. Cheryl Deloso-Montalla, chairman of the committee on human rights, said in a statement that the measure sought to promote a society that valued the dignity of everyone and guaranteed full respect of human rights, regardless of their status.
Deloso-Montalla added that the bill would fulfill the country’s commitment to the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination, to ensure its full application in the country’s national legal system. RALPH EDWIN U. VILLANUEVA