CAGAYAN DE ORO

Penalties fixed for Oro’s proposed anti-discrimination ordinance

THE proposed anti-discrimination ordinance will penalize violators of as much as P5,000 in fines, a maximum one-year imprisonment, and mandatory anti-discrimination training.

City Councilor Girlie Balaba, the author of the ordinance, said committee hearings are set before the year ends to pass the ordinance called Cagayan de Oro Diversity and Equality Ordinance.

Balaba, in a special report Monday, December 10, said the technical working group (TWG) has completed the draft ordinance which promises to address discrimination not only based on sexual orientation but also on religious affiliation, disabilities, and even based on the language a person used.

Under the draft ordinance, it will be unlawful to discriminate anyone in employment, education, discrimination in the delivery of goods or services, and discrimination in accommodation on the basis Section 1 Article III of the 1987 Philippine Constitution which states that no person should be deprived of life, liberty, and property without the due process of law.

The proposed ordinance also prohibits vilifying and ridiculing any person which could result in the loss of self-esteem, reputation, or employment.

It shall also be unlawful to refuse entry a person or group of persons from entering any establishment such as restaurants, bars, stores, movie houses or to refuse to serve any orders for food, drinks and other foods, and to subject a person to discrimination or harassment in buses, taxis, ships, and airplanes.

To ensure these provisions are followed, the proposed ordinance directs every employer in the city to encourage a stigma-free environment by implementing diversity training and gender-sensitivity training, develop an internal redress mechanism to address discrimination cases.

It also directs all government agencies, private offices, and commercial or industrial establishments to designate toilet rooms and lavatories labelled as all gender CR (comfort room).

For first offense, the violators shall be penalized with a fine of P1,000 and will undergo a mandatory anti-discriminatory seminar. If the ordinance is violated twice, the offender shall pay a fine worth P3,000, undergo a mandatory anti-discriminatory seminar, and an imprisonment of not more than 1 to 3 months.

For the third and subsequent offenses, the offender shall be penalized with a fine of P5,000, undergo a mandatory anti-discriminatory seminar and an imprisonment of not more than 1 year but not less than 3 months.

Also, a business establishment which commits a clear and consistent pattern or practice of discrimination shall have its business permit revoked, suspended, or not renewed upon the recommendation by the Cagayan de Oro Diversity and Equality Commission.

The commission will be created once the ordinance will be passed and its members will be appointed by the mayor.

“As we are gearing to be a progressive and metropolitan city, this ordinance will ensure that everyone gets to enjoy a better and more improved life,” Balaba said.


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