DISCRIMINATION in Baguio City will now be criminalized.

During Monday’s regular session, the five year old ordinance penned by Vice Mayor Edison Bilog was approved on third and final reading and is awaiting the approval of the chief executive.

“I am happy that after almost five years it was finally approved, with the passage of this ordinance, hopefully, all forms of discrimination would now be stopped and any commission thereof will now be penalized, the rights of our citizens, including the LGBT community will now be protected,” Bilog said.

The lesbians, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in the city has long been pushing for the passage of the local ordinance to be able to have equal protection from all forms of abuse and discrimination.

The new law prohibits discrimination and enforces equality and espouses equal protection of the law regardless of religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity, health status, Disability, and age.”

National Youth Commission Luzon chair Perci Cendaña said the commission is happy the Anti-Discrimination ordinance has been passed.

“The youth of the city will greatly benefit from the measure as it promotes equality and respect for diversity. Meaningful youth development can only thrive in a community or setting free from stigma and discrimination,” added Cendaña.

Cendaña said by criminalizing discrimination, the measure removes barriers and deterrents to development and participation and affirms the city’s commitment to equality, equity and justice.

The local committee on Laws, Human Rights and Justice recommended approval of the measure last year saying it is consistent with the principles of the Constitution, international human rights and humanitarian standards, international treaties adhered to by the Philippines, and existing Philippine laws.

The new law protects all against discrimination in political participation; accessing public places, facilities and public meetings; denial of right to organize; education materials, advertisement, mass media; engaging in profiling; speeches, utterances, acts of hatred and similar acts; detention and confinement; and abuses by state and non-state actors.

Prohibited acts should fall under violation of economic, social and cultural rights; denial of right to work; denial of rights to education; denial of access to goods and services; discrimination on accommodation/lodging establishment; inflicting stigma; inciting others to commit acts of discrimination and inflicting harm on health and well-being.

The city is now also mandated to have anti-discrimination programs for the benefit of all.

Bilog, then a councilor, filed the ordinance in 2013 and was then co- authored by councilors Edgar Avila, Joel Alangsab, Faustino Olowan, Maria Mylen Victoria Yaranon, Elaine Sembrano, Peter Fianza, Lilia Fariñas, Arthur Allad-iw, Benny Bomogao and Michael Lawana.