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Cagayan de Oro passes anti-discrimination ordinance

Cagayan de Oro’s Sangguniang Panlungsod unanimously passed an ordinance penalizing discrimination against members of the LGBTQIA community, persons with disabilities, COVID-19 patients and medical frontliners.

Photo by Ian Taylor from Unsplash.com

Eyeing to protect the human rights of members of minority sectors in Cagayan de Oro City, the Sangguniang Panlungsod unanimously passed an ordinance penalizing discrimination against members of the LGBTQIA community, persons with disabilities, COVID-19 patients and medical frontliners.

According to Councilor Joyleen Mercedes Balaba, who authored the “Cagayan de Oro Diversity and Equality Ordinance”, this measure “will send a strong message that discrimination has no place in the city.” She added that she, herself, saw discriminatory acts based on perceived differences – “I have seen many friends who were discriminated just because they dressed differently,” she said.

The ordinance imposes the penalties of one-year imprisonment and fines ranging from P1,000 to P10,000 for offenders.

A mediation board — called Cagayan de Oro Diversity and Equality Commission — will be formed, headed by the city mayor. The mediation board will ensure that victims would have a legal body to air their complaints.

Mayor Oscar Moreno is expected to sign the ordinance.

Cagayan de Oro City-based Stephen Christian Quilacio may be known as a party-goer (and yes, there's nothing wrong with that!). But this Bachelor of Architecture grad is serious when it comes to LGBTQIA and HIV advocacies - e.g. he founded Northern Mindanao AIDS Advocates (NorMAA) to mainstream the issues of people living with HIV in Mindanao; and produced "Lima" and eventually "Red Lives" via community theater to share HIV-centric stories particularly to grassroots community. Pushing for fringe communities to no longer be excluded is what drives Stephen; and "if this can be done in a fun way, so much the better," he smiled.

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