MANILA - The House of Representatives has approved on second reading a bill seeking to prohibit racial, ethnic, and religious discrimination.
House Bill 8673 defines discrimination as an act committed by any person, natural or juridical, involving a distinction, exclusion, restriction or reference made on the basis of race, color, descent, national or ethnic origin, religion, or religious affiliation or belief which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise on an equal footing of the human rights and individual freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field of public life of a person, including incitement to discriminate or harass.
The so-called “profiling” of any person who is under investigatory activities, by anyone acting as principal or agent of the State, is an act of discrimination when it is done in a manner that is unnecessary, unjustified and degrading.
Any person, government agency or corporation who performs any of the abovementioned acts may be imprisoned for 30 days up to 6 months and/or be penalized with a fine of P10,000 to P100,000.
A Non-discrimination and Equal Opportunity Committee is proposed to be created in all agencies or corporations, public or private, and shall exercise administrative jurisdiction to investigate acts and practices of discrimination under this measure.
The Commission on Human Rights, in coordination with the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) and the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos, are mandated to prevent or deter the commission of such acts, and to assist, review and recommend procedures for the resolution, settlement or prosecution of such acts.