House approves anti-discrimination bill on 2nd reading

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 14) — After 11 years, the bill prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression (SOGIE) has passed the second reading in the House of Representatives.

Dinagat Islands Rep. Kaka Bag-ao, primary author of House Bill 4982 or the SOGIE Equality Bill, said this is a step closer to protecting the rights of everyone, regardless of their gender and sexuality.

Bag-ao added the bill "does not seek to create special or new rights, but simply aims to protect the basic rights of citizens."

Under the bill, the following discriminatory acts can be fined of not less than P100,000 but not more than P500,000, or imprisonment of not less than one year but not more than six years or both, depending on the court's decision:

  • Denial of access to public services - including SOGIE as a criteria for hiring or dismissal of workers
  • Refusing admission or expelling students in schools based on SOGIE
  • Imposing disciplinary actions that are harsher than customary due to the student's SOGIE
  • Refusing or revoking accreditation of organizations based on the SOGIE of members
  • Denying access to health services
  • Denying the application for professional licenses and similar documents
  • Denying access to establishments, facilities, and services open to the general public - Forcing a person to undertake any medical or psychological examination to determine or alter one's SOGIE
  • Harassment committed by persons involved in law enforcement
  • Publishing information intended to "out" or reveal the SOGIE of a person without consent - Engaging in public speech which intends to shame or ridicule LGBTQ+ persons
  • Subjecting persons to harassment motivated by the offenders bias against the offended party's SOGIE, which may come in the form of any medium, including telecommunications and social media
  • Subjecting any person to gender profiling - Preventing a child under parental authority from expressing one's SOGIE by inflicting or threatening to inflict bodily or physical harm or by causing mental or emotional suffering

The bill, originally known as the anti-discrimination bill, was first filed in the 11th Congress by Akbayan Representative Etta Rosales.

The SOGIE Equality Bill is expected to be approved on third and final reading before the House adjourns session in October.