Passage of Cebu's anti-discrimination law lauded

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

CEBU CITY -- Equal rights defenders on Thursday expressed optimism that the passage of anti-discrimination ordinance here will stop the stigma of being different.

The Cebu City Council on Wednesday passed a landmark ordinance that penalizes any form of discrimination against persons with disability (PWDs), different sexual preferences, ethnicity and religion.This is the first anti-discrimination policy in the country.

The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community welcomed the passage of the ordinance.

Bee Urgello said he is optimistic that members of the LGBT community will no longer suffer from the stigma of being different because of the ordinance.

“We waited so long for this,” he said.

Mikay Dumabok, coordinator of the Akbayan LGBT Cebu, said the ordinance will protect the LGBT community from bullying and discrimination. He said victims of discrimination will get justice.

The ordinance prohibits excluding, refusing or dismissing any person from public programs and services and educational institutions on the basis of disability, age, health status, sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity and religion.

It also prohibits discriminating against any organization or group. It also makes it unlawful to deny medical and other health services, transportation and other facilities based on those biases.

First-time offenders will be fined P1,000 or imprisoned for one day to 30 days. Second-time offenders will face a fine of P3,000 or suffer imprisonment of one day to 30 days or both at the discretion of the court.

For successive offenses, violators will be fined P5,000 or be imprisoned for one day to 30 days or face both at the discretion of the court. (PNA)

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