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Province of Cavite passes anti-discrimination ordinance

Provincial Ordinance No. 054 – sponsored by Eileen R. Beratio, and co-sponsored by all Sangguniang Panlalawigan members – eyes to help the province “give the highest priority to the enactment of measures that protect and enhance the right of all people to human dignity, reduce social, economic and political inequalities, and remove cultural inequities”; as well as “value the dignity of every person and to guarantee full respect for human rights”.

To “prohibit discrimination against people of different gender, physical disability, sexual orientation, and religious affiliation or beliefs, (thereby) ensuring equal treatment for all individuals to foster peace”, the Province of Cavite has passed an anti-discrimination ordinance (ADO).

Provincial Ordinance No. 054 – sponsored by Eileen R. Beratio, and co-sponsored by all Sangguniang Panlalawigan members – eyes to help the province “give the highest priority to the enactment of measures that protect and enhance the right of all people to human dignity, reduce social, economic and political inequalities, and remove cultural inequities”; as well as “value the dignity of every person and to guarantee full respect for human rights”.

The ADO specifically looks at discrimination happening in employment, education, delivery of goods and services, and accommodation.

While the ADO cites the Philippine Constitution, as well as international documents signed by the country that promotes human rights for all, it similarly states that “promoting and upholding their rights will not only enhance their freedom, welfare, and dignity as humans, but will also promote social justice as a whole and will contribute in the creation of a human rights culture in the country.”

Akin to other ADOs now existing in the country, the Cavite ADO also mandates the formation of an anti-discrimination mediation and conciliation board. This board will be composed of, among others, the provincial governor; provincial legal officer; chairpersons of the committees on industrial peace, labor and employment, and committee on education of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan; president of the Cavite Chamber of Commerce and Industry; head of the Provincial Employment and Service Office; division superintendent of the Department of Education provincial office; and the leaders of the sectors affected by the ADO.

The board aims to mediate/conciliate those who may raise complaints and the accused to avoid judicial, quasi-judicial, prosecutorial and administrative action. Interestingly, it adds that unless the same board certifies in writing, “no complaint or action of whatever kind… shall be deemed actionable and proper.”

Except when violations are committed against existing national laws, penalties for violations of the ADO could range from admonition and a fine of P5,000 for first conviction, to imprisonment for six months and a fine of P5,000 for third conviction.

Fifty percent of the fines collected will be given to the provincial government, while the other 50% will be given to the municipality where the violation happened.

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