House Bill No. 956: An Act Prohibiting Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Providing Penalties Thereof

Republic of the Philippines
Quezon City, Metro Manila
First Regular Session
lntroduced by AKBAYAN Representative
Ana Theresia Hontiveros-Baraquel


The equal protection clause in the Bill of Rights proscribes discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or any other status in the enjoyment of rights. The equal protection clause, according to an eminent constitutionalist “is the specific constitutional guarantee of the Equality of the Person.” (J.B ernas,S.J. Constitutional Rights & Social Demands: Notes and Cases ,Vo l. II [1991], p 48). This clause requires that “laws operate equally and uniformly on all persons under similar circumstances or that all persons must be treated in the same manner, the conditions not being different, both in the privileges conferred and the liabilities imposed.” (J.M. Tuason and Co. vs. The Land Tenure Administration,3Sl CRA4 13).

The fundamental law also declares that the State values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for human rights (Section1 1, Article II, l9B7 Constitution). It also imposes on the State the duty to ensure the fundamental equality before the law of women and men (Sec.1 4,1 d).

In addition, the Philippines is a signatory to numerous international agreements that seek to ensure respect for the human rights of all persons regardles of sex, sexual o rientationo r any other condition. These international human rights instruments have consistently been interpreted by internationali institutions, such as the the Human Rights Committeea nd the LN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to include protection against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. In Toonen vs. Australia, the IIN Human Rights Committee interpreted Article 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which obliges States to “guarantee to all persons equal and effective protection against discrimination on any ground such as race, color, sex, Ianguage, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status, “to include a protection against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.  The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has also interpreted Article 2 of the ICESCR to include sexual orientation in the Covenant’s non-discrimination provisions.
Unfortunately, reality has still to catchup with the noble intentions of these numerous laws
and international agreements. Lesbians and gays continue to be oppressed by the iniquitous
treatment of society at large, primarily because of misconceptions and ignorance.  Sadly for our
democracy, gays and lesbians are still considered second class citizens when they try to exercise the rights to which they are rightfully entitled.

In schools, workplaces, commercial establishments, public service, police ancl the military,
prejudicial practices and policies based on sexual orientation and gender identity limit the exercise and enjoyment of basic human rights and fundamental freedoms. Lesbian or gay students, for instance, are refused admission or expelled from schools due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.   Companies block the promotion of lesbian and gay employees due to the deeply embedded notion that homosexuality is an indication of weakness. Laws such as the anti-vagrancy law are also abused by law cnforcement agcncies to harass gay men.

There is, therefore, an urgent need to define and penalize practices that unjustly dliscriminate
against lesbians and gays. It should be emphasized that the list contained herein is not exhaustive as it focuses only on the most blatant instances of discrimination. Similar instances of discrimination should be deemed included among the prohibited practices by analogy.
In view o[the foregoing, and of the need to correct the long-standing discrimination against
lesbians and gays in Philippine society, the early passage of this bill is earnestly urged.

Akbayan Party-list Representative

Republic f the Philippines
Quezon City, Metro Manila
FirSt Regular Session
House BILL No. I 5 6
lntroduced by AKBAYAN Representative
Ana Theresia Hontiveros-Baraquel


Be it enactcd by the Senate and the House of Representatives of the Congress assembled:

SECTION 1. T’itle. — This Act shall be known and cited as the “Anti-Discrimination Act.”

SEC. 2. Declaration of policy. — lt is the policy of the state to work actively for the elimination of all forms of discrimination that offends the equal protection clause of the Bill of Rights and the State obligations under human rights instruments acceded to by the Republic of the Philippines, particularly those discriminatory practices based on sex or sexual orientation. Towards this end, discriminatory practiccs as clcfincd herein shall be proscribed and penalizedl.
SEC 3.)   Definition of Terms. For the Purposes of this Act, the  following terms shall be defined as follows:
a. Sexual Orientation refers to the direction of emotional sexual attraction or conduct. This
can be towards people of the same sex (homosexual orientation) or towards people of both
sexes (bisexual orientation) or towards people of the opposite sex (heterosexual

b. Gender Identity refers tothe personal sense of identity as characterized, among others, by
manners of clothing, inclinations, and behavior in relation to masculine or feminine
conventions.  A person may have a male or female identity with the physiological
charactcristics of the opposite sex.
c. Discrimination shall be understoodto imply any distinction, exclusion, restriction, o r
preference which is based on any ground such as sex, sexual orientation, gender identity,
whether actual or perceived, and which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or
impairing the recognition, enjoyment, or exercise by all persons of an equal footing of all
rights and freedoms.

SEC. 4. Discriminatory practices. – It shall be unlawful for any person, natural or juridical, to:
(a) Deny accessto public service, including military service, to any person on the basis of sexual
orientation and/or gender identity;
(b) lnclude sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as the disclosure of sexual orientation, in the criteria for hiring, promotion and dismissal of workers, and in the determination of cmployeee compensation, training, incentives, privileges, benefits, or allowances, and other terms and conditions of employment; This prohibition on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity shall also include the contracting and engaging of services of juridical persons.
(c) Refuse admission or expel aperson from educational institutions on the basis of sexual
orientation and gender identity, without prejudice to the right of educational institutions to
determine the academic, qualifications of their students; This prohibition shall inclucle the impositiono f

(i) disciplinary sanctions solely on the basis of sexualorientation and gender identity;

( ii) penalties harsher that customary primarily due to sexuaol rientation and gender identity; or

(iii) similar punishments and prohibitions.

(d) Refuse or revoke the accreditation or formal recognition and/ or registration of any
l rganization, group, political party, institution or establishment, educational institutions,
workplaces, communities,  and other settings, solely on the basis of the sexual orientation or
gendcr identity of their members or of their target constituencies:
This prohibition shall also include the prevention of and prohibitions on attempts to

(e) Dcny a persona accss to medical and other health services open to the gcneral public on the basis of such pcrson’s scxual orientation or gender identity;

(f) Dcny an application for or rcvoke aprofessional license issued by the govcrnrnmcnt due to the  applicant’ sexual orientation or gender identity;

(g) Deny a person access to or the use of establishments, facilities, utilities or services, includinghousing, open to the general public on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity: ‘l’herei s a denial when a person is given inferior accommodations or services;

T’his discrimination includes the discrimination of juridical persons solely on the basis of the
sexual orientation or gender identity of their members or of their target constituencies;
(h) Subject or force any person to any medical or psychological examination to determine and,/or alter the person’s sexual orientation or gender identity without the expressed approval of the person involved, except in cases where the person involved is a minor under the age of
discernment in which case prior approval o f the appropriate Family Court shall be required.
In the latter case, the child shall be represented in the proceedingby the Solicitor General or
the iatter’s authorized representative;

(i) Harassment by members of institutions involved in the enforcement of law and the
prorecrion of rights, such as the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the
Philippines, of any person on the basis of his or her sexual orientation or gender identity.
Among other cases, harassmenot ccurs when a person is arrested or otherwise placedi n the
custody and extortion, physical or verbal abuse takes place, regardless of whether such arrest
has legal or factual basis.  Harassment of juridical persons on the basis of the sexual
orientation or gender identity of their members, stockholders, benefacors, clients, or patrons is likewise covered by this provision.
(il Other analogous circumsrances.
SEC. 5. Administrative sanctions— Refusal of a government official whose duty is to investigate, Prosecute or otherwise act on a complaint for a violation of this Act to perform such a duty without a valid ground shall constitute gross negligence on the part of such official who shall suffer the appropriate penalty under civil service laws, rules, and regulations.
SEC.6 . Penalties.-

(a) Persons found guilty of any of the discriminatory practicese numerared in the preceding Section shall be penalized with a fine of not lesst han One Hundred Thousand Pesos (P100,000) but not to exceed Five Ilundred Thousand Pesos (P500,000) or imprisonment of not less than one (l) ycar but not more than one (6) years, or both at the discretion of the court.   In addition, community scrvice in terms of human rights education to the perpetrator and exposure to the plight of the victims canbe imposed at the discretion of the court.

(b) The officials directly involved shall be liable for violations committed by corporations, organizations, or similar entities.
SEC 7 . Separability clause. — If any provision of this Act is declared unconstitutional or otherwise invalid, the validity of the other provisions shall not be affected thereby.
SEC. 8. Repealing clause. All laws, decrees, orders, rules and regulations or parts thereof
inconsistent with this Act are hereby repealed or modified accordingly.
SEC. 9. Effectivity. — This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days after its publication in the Official

Gazette or in at least two (2) newspapers of general circulation.



About Quirino M. Sugon Jr
Theoretical Physicist in Manila Observatory

3 Responses to House Bill No. 956: An Act Prohibiting Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Providing Penalties Thereof

  1. Quirino M. Sugon Jr says:

    The battle against the Reproductive Health Bill is not yet over. The battle against the Anti Discrimination Bill has just begun. Welcome to Monk’s Hobbit. The Dark Ages are at hand.

  2. blackshama says:

    The proposed bill has inconsistencies and Ms Hontiveros-Baraquel would know it if she did her research. First of all she uses the concepts “male and female” to characterize gender identity. A person may identify with male, female or any gender in between or even no gender at all. This bill demeans gays because it pigeonholes them to either male or female identities. Many gays identify with the “gay” gender. This proposed law may not protect them at all. Some societies have a third gender concept which doesn’t fit Hontiveros-Baraquel’s idea at all. Gender may be a continuum and this assigning people’s gender identity to either ends may be demeaning.

    Also sexual orientation is not fixed. People can change their orientation if they want to. This bill has no definition of what sex is! Science defines what sex is.

    I have always held the opinion that these kind of laws are unnecessary and that laws protecting “gay” rights is the same as laws protecting human rights.

    Nonetheless the proposed law has no ‘religious exception” clause. For example, the Iglesia ni Cristo publicly excommunicates gay members on grounds of doctrine. Will the INC be held liable in the expression of its doctrine concerning its members? Wouldn’t this law impinge on INC rights to freedom of worship?

    For Catholics, since the law violates the natural order and the natural law basis of morality, this law is insufficient and Catholics in good conscience should disobey it. Catholics recognize that a person’s male and female identity is integral to the whole person and not just a mere part of the whole person that can be pigeonholed or separated by politicians.

    With regards to heterosexual people, the law prevents prospective employers to employ people according to their male or female identity. A women’s restroom attendant can be a man. There are some women’s concerns of which a man can never have any experience of.

    Laws such as this which is a spin off of outdated feminist ideas are actually degrading to human dignity. Maleness and femaleness are not accidents of being human but are core to being human.

  3. Jun-Jun says:

    I fear this is part of the Communist Propaganda. Destroy morality, use democracy against democracy, nationalism against nationalism and take over this nation. Hontiveros is a communist.

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