Muslims and other groups will soon be protected from discrimination if a bill introduced by Senator Robinhood “Robin” C. Padilla passes.

In tabling Senate Bill 233, Padilla stressed the need to protect the rights of all Filipinos, adding that there is no room for discrimination on the basis of race, religion or ethnicity. be formerly incarcerated persons.

The bill imposes stiff penalties for discrimination, including a prison term of at least six years and a fine of at least 100,000 pesos.

“This bill sets out the prohibited and punishable acts of discrimination against a person, his relative up to the fourth degree of consanguinity or affinity, or his representative, when they are committed on the basis race, color, ancestry, national or ethnic origin, religion, or religious affiliation or beliefs, or having been previously incarcerated,” said Padilla, who himself was a victim of discrimination because of their religion.

“Unfortunately, it is a reality that different and unfavorable treatment based on race, ethnicity, religion or even involvement in the justice system still exists in a democratic country like ours.

Like other nations around the world, social exclusion, intolerance and discrimination prevail and undermine the fundamental rights of every member of our society… In order to ensure that the equality of every Filipino is preserved and the dignity human being is protected, the adoption of this measure is strongly sought. ,” he added.

Padilla had found it difficult to conduct business transactions due to his religion.

Worse, he said, there have been other incidents of discrimination, including the Metro Manila Police memorandum in 2019 requiring the “identification” of Muslim students.

Acts of discrimination based on race, religion and being formerly incarcerated are covered by Padilla’s bill:

* Discrimination in the exercise of political rights, including elections, in employment, in education and training, and in the provision of goods and services;

* Discrimination in access to public places, facilities and public meetings;

* Engage in “profiling”

To ensure compliance, all private and public agencies, businesses, organizations, educational institutions and training centers must establish a “Non-Discrimination and Equal Opportunity Committee” to investigate violations.

For its part, the Commission on Human Rights will help develop processes for investigating and resolving cases of discrimination; and formulate guidelines to help discriminated parties obtain redress.

The CHR will also assist in the filing of complaints against offenders and develop a system for referring cases to the appropriate government agencies.

Penalties for violations include:

* A fine of at least 100,000 pesos, imprisonment for at least six years, or both for the first offence;

* A fine of 500,000 pesos to 1 million pesos, imprisonment for at least eight years, or both for subsequent offenses.

A fine of at least 500,000 pesos, a prison term of at least eight years, or both, also await offenders who are government officials; and executives of non-compliant companies.

Foreigners who violate the measure risk immediate deportation after serving their sentence, without further deportation proceedings.


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