Legarda on Zero Discrimination Day: Demand Reforms on Discriminatory Laws

February 28, 2019

In line with this year’s celebration of Zero Discrimination Day (March 1, 2019), Senator Loren Legarda supported the global call to take action against discriminatory laws and practices worldwide and also urged Filipinos to call out discriminatory provisions in existing laws in the country.


“Our Constitution affords every Filipino their basic human rights and our laws should be able to foster a humane society where Filipinos can lead a life without prejudice, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, sex, gender, and even health status,” Legarda said.


Legarda welcomed the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) citation of Republic Act (RA) 11166, s. 2018 or the Philippine HIV and AIDS Policy Act, which she co-authored in the Senate, as one exemplary law that changed the AIDS response in 2018.


RA11166, which repealed the Philippine AIDS Prevention and Control Act of 1998, lowered the age of consent to 15 years for voluntary HIV testing without the need to obtain consent from a parent or guardian.


“The enactment of the Philippine HIV and AIDS Policy Act is a major step that will provide accessible treatment, better care and proper education on HIV, especially in vulnerable communities,” said Legarda.


The Senator also called on fellow lawmakers across the globe to intensify response to end discrimination worldwide. She cited the following statistics, based on a report by UNAIDS[1]:


  • In 29 countries, women require the consent of a spouse or partner to access sexual and reproductive health services;
  • In 45 countries, there is no legislation to address sexual harassment;
  • In 67 countries, sexual relations between same-sex individuals are criminalized;
  • In 17 countries, transgender people are criminalized;
  • At least 20 countries still impose travel restrictions of some form against people living with HIV; and
  • Across 19 countries, approximately one in five people living with HIV reported to having been denied of healthcare, including dental, family planning, and reproductive health services.


“As we celebrate this year’s Zero Discrimination Day, let us help end discrimination by nurturing a society that is respectful, accepting, and celebratory of every human being’s background and diversity,” Legarda concluded.***



[1] UNAIDS, “Act to Change Laws that Discriminate.”