Iloilo City’s anti-discrimination ordinance approved

An ordinance prohibiting and penalizing discriminatory acts has been approved by the Iloilo City Council.

Authored by Councilor Liezl Zulueta-Salazar, the anti-discrimination ordinance hurdled the third and final reading yesterday.

Discrimination, as defined by the ordinance, refers to “any act or conduct that withholds, excludes, restricts, curtails, demeans human dignity, or otherwise impairs the recognition, enjoyment and exercise of human rights and basic freedoms in economic, labor, social, cultural, educational or any other field of public life based on sex, gender, identity, sexual orientation, race, color, descent, national or ethnic origin, and religious affiliation or beliefs.”

A discriminatory act is committed “if the person is refused employment, admission in school, and entry in places open to general public; deprived of abode or quarters, provision of goods and services; and subjected to ridicule or insult.”

Those found guilty of violating the new measure will be punished with a fine ranging from P1,000 to P5,000 and imprisonment of one to 15 days.

The ordinance also mandates the creation of a board that will initiate the filing of cases against violators.

Salazar said her ordinance is consistent with the mandate of equality reiterated in the 1987 Constitution and Civil Rights Act of 1967.

“It will protect not only members of our LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community, but also those in other sectors,” she stressed.

The implementing rules and regulations, according to the councilor, will be prepared by the City Legal Office.

Information dissemination on the measure will be conducted before the implementation, Salazar said.

The ordinance will take effect after publication in a local newspaper for 10 consecutive days.IMT