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Legarda Echoes Call to Stop Discrimination

March 1, 2018

On Zero Discrimination Day (March 1), Senator Loren Legarda echoed calls to stop any form of discrimination.

Legarda said that no person should be discriminated based on ethnicity, race, religion, belief, age, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, language, disability, health or any other reason.

“We must promote a society that values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for human rights regardless of a person’s social status, physical appearance, personal preference, beliefs and affiliation,” said Legarda.

The Senator has a proposed measure under Senate Bill No. 39, which seeks to prohibit discrimination, profiling, violence and all forms of intolerance against persons.

The bill seeks to fulfill the Philippines’ international commitment under the International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), to ensure its full application in our national legal system through the creation of a comprehensive law with substantial penal provisions.

Legarda explained that the Philippine population is composed of many religious and ethnic groups. “This diversity has given way to a number of incidents on racial and religious discrimination.”

Meanwhile, profiling, which is a criminology term that follows the basic sociological science method of understanding the complexities of human society by breaking down members of a population into groups that share common characteristics, has resulted in stereotyping.

Legarda lamented, “Certain crimes, such as terrorism, murder and kidnapping are sometimes deliberately attributed to a religious affiliation. Profiling has also caused minority groups and individuals of a certain gender and sexual orientation to be discriminated against in many ways including in employment.”

Legarda’s proposed measure also seeks to create Equal Opportunity Committees in agencies, corporations, companies and educational institutions, whether public or private. These committees will have administrative jurisdiction over cases involving discrimination.

“Each and every individual deserves to be treated fairly and equally. Through this proposed measure, we should be able to reduce the discrimination that causes a different kind of terrorism—the one that fosters hatred, thus fueling disunity in our country,” Legarda concluded.