Robin Padilla’s bill proposes up to P1 million fine, jail term vs discrimination
MANILA, Philippines — To ensure that “every Filipino’s equality is preserved and human dignity is protected,” Senator Robin Padilla is seeking the passage of a bill that would prohibit and penalize acts of discrimination.
In Senate Bill No. 233 or the Anti-Discrimination Act, Padilla proposes a fine of up to P1 million and a jail term of up to eight years against a person or organization committing acts of discrimination o the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, or “being formerly incarcerated.”
The bill pointed out that “no less than 1987 Constitution guarantees the right of every Filipino to equal protection of the laws as it likewise declares that the state values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for human rights.”
“Regrettably, it is a reality that differing and adverse treatment on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion or even involvement with the justice system still exists in a democratic country like ours,” Padilla said in his explanatory note of the measure.
“Like other nations around the world, social exclusion, intolerance, and discrimination prevail and harm the basic rights of every member of our society,” he further said.
A Muslim convert, Padilla said he himself had experienced difficulties in conducting business transactions because of his religion.
The senator also mentioned other incidents of discrimination, including the memorandum of the Metro Manila police in 2019 to require the “identification” of Muslim students.
If enacted into law, the measure would prohibit the following acts of discrimination against a person, including his/her relative up to the fourth degree of consanguinity or affinity, or representative when committed on the basis of race, color, descent, nation, or ethnic origin, religion, or religious affiliation or beliefs or being formerly incarcerated:
- Discrimination in the exercise of political rights including elections, in employment, in education and training, and in delivering goods and services;
- Discrimination in access to public places, facilities, and public meetings; and
- Engaging in “profiling.”
Violators could face a fine of at least P100,000, a jail term of at least six years, or both for the first offense; and a fine of P500,000 to P1 million, at least eight years of imprisonment, or both for subsequent offenses.
For government officials and officials of corporations, they could be slapped with at least a P500,000 fine and a jail term of at least eight years or both.
Foreigners who would violate the measure could face immediate deportation after serving their sentence, without further deportation proceedings.
In the House of Representatives, Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman also revived his bill against discrimination.
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