House approves anti-discrimination bill on 3rd and final reading

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 20) — The House approved the bill prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression (SOGIE) Wednesday.

Congressmen voted unanimously, 198-0-0, to pass the SOGIE Equality Act in the Lower House on its third and final reading.

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 current bill's primary author, Kaka Bag-ao, previously said this would not add special rights to members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community, aiming only to protect the basic rights of citizens.

Senate has yet to approve its own version of the act. Sen. Risa Hontiveros has filed a similar bill pending second reading.

CNN Philippines' Correspondent Joyce Ilas contributed to this report.