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Anti-discrimination bill approved by House Committee on Rules, heads to plenary for reading

After its approval by the House Committee on Rules, the Equality Bill (House Bill 10176) will soon go to the plenary for reading.

Hope springs eternal.

After its approval by the House Committee on Rules, the Equality Bill (House Bill 10176) will soon go to the plenary for reading.

The HB – which actually collates related bills, including HBO 222, 460, 3418, 3702, 4277, 5551, 6003 and 7036 – earlier hurdled the Committee on Women and Gender Equality, chaired by Bataan 1st Rep. Geraldine Roman.

Titled “Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity or Expression, or Sex Characteristics Equality Act”, HB 10176 eyes “to protect individuals and communities that are at a greater risk of human rights violations based on sexual orientation, gender, identity or expression or sex characteristics (SOGIESC), including individuals and communities of diverse SOGIESC who are children, young, poor, persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples or persons of different ethnic background, or cultural background, and of various religious beliefs.”

Specifically, it hopes to:

  • Eliminate discriminatory practices on the basis of SOGIESC by banning and punishing several discriminatory acts
  • Promote non-discrimination as a way of life by encouraging pubic and private establishments to implement programs that defend human rights of persons of diverse SOGIESC
  • Put in place appropriate redress mechanisms for SOGIESC-related cases

For the bill, unlawful discriminatory practices include:

  • Producing and publishing materials that promote, encourage, perpetuate stigma and inciting violence and abuse against any person based on SOGIESC
  • Denying public services
  • Including SOGIESC in hiring, promotion, transfer, designation, work assignment, re-assignment, dismissal, subcontracting, performance review, determination of wages, access to career development, training, privileges, benefits or allowances, and other related work-related conditions
  • Refusing admission or expelling from any educational institution
  • Denying equal access to use of establishments, facilities, utilities or services
  • Subjecting or forcing to undergo medical or psychological endeavors to alter a person’s SOGIESC sans the same person’s consent
  • Outing a person

Violators may be jailed for one to 12 years and/or fined with P100,000 to P500,000.

However, the bill is expected to face an uphill battle. Even in the House of Representatives, anti-LGBTQIA rightwing politicians are expected to block it, while in the Senate, a counterpart bill has yet to hurdle any committee.

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