A step closer to non-discrimination.
An anti-discrimination ordinance protecting the human rights of minority sectors including members of the LGBT community passed the third and final reading in General Santos City in Mindanao. It is now awaiting the signature of Mayor Ronnel Rivera; to be followed by the drafting of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR).
GenSan’s ADO, sponsored by city councilor Shandee Theresa O. Lido-Pestano, noted that members of minority sectors of the city, in particular, experienced discrimination, humiliation, embarrassment, harassment and violence, and most of these remain unrecorded and unreported. It therefore eyes to “eliminate all forms of discrimination that violate and offend the guarantee of equal protection of human rights as enshrined in the Bill of Rights and other existing laws, as well as… various international conventions and obligations (that the country is a signatory of).”
Aside from people of various sexual orientation and gender identities, the ADO also eyes to grant protection to people on the basis of disability, age, health status, ethnicity and religion.
Prohibited acts in the ADO include: denying access to public services; refusal of admission, expulsion or dismissal from educational institutions; refusal or revocation of accreditation of any organization in various settings; denial of access to medical or health services; denial of access to private or public establishments and services; refusal of employment or imposition of additional conditions before employment; and subjecting a person to ridicule verbally or through publications.
First-time offenders will be penalized with a fine of P1,000 and a mandatory attendance to an anti-discriminatory seminar. This goes up to P3,000 for the second offense; and P5,000 for the third offense.
GenSan’s City Population Management Office (CPMO) will be primarily responsible for the implementation of the ordinance. An anti-discrimination mediation and conciliation board will also be created, which will be composed of the city mayor, city legal officer, chairs of some committees of the Sangguniang Panglungsod, representatives from the Indigenous Peoples, representatives from the business sector, and representatives from the academe.
Surprisingly, based on the copy of the ADO received by Outrage Magazine, the same board will have no representation from the LGBT community, as well as the HIV community.
All the same, according to GenSan-based LGBT activist Cris Lopera, “napakahalaga ng ADO na ito… para maibsan o masugpo ang discrimination na nararanasan ng mga LGBT lalong-lalo na ng mga LGBT dito sa GenSan (this ADO is important to prevent or lessen the discrimination experienced by LGBT people particularly in GenSan).”
Trans activist Andrea Faith Mahiwaga added that this ADO “ay isang mahalang sandata para sa mga LGBT para hindi na ma-discriminate, ma-bully at mabigyan ng pantay na karapatang pantao (an important instrument for LGBT people not to be discriminated, bullied and be given equal rights).”