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Senate panel OKs SOGIESC-based anti-discrimination bill

A Senate panel has approved a bill seeking to prohibit and sanction discriminatory acts that are based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sex characteristics (SOGIESC).

Senator Risa Hontiveros, committee on women, children, family relations and gender equality chairperson, is set to sponsor Senate Bill No. 1934 in plenary next week.

Aside from Hontiveros, others who signed the committee report were Senators Nancy Binay, Leila de Lima, Imee Marcos, Grace Poe, Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto, Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, and Minority Leader Franklin Drilon.

On the other hand, Senate President Vicente Sotto III, Senators Cynthia Villar, Sherwin Gatchalian, Pia Cayetano, and Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa did not affix their signatures.

Among the long list of prohibited acts under the bill are the promotion of stigma on the basis of SOGIESC in the media, educational books, and other medium; and inclusion of sexual orientation in the criteria for hiring and promotion.

The bill also prohibits preventing a child under parental authority, custody, or guardianship from expressing one's preferred SOGIESC by inflicting or threatening to inflict harm, or causing mental and emotional suffering.

Violators of the proposed law would be sanctioned with a fine of not less than P500,000 but not more than P1 million at the discretion of the court.

In addition, the court may also impose community service through attendance in human rights and SOGIESC education, among others.

Last year, Sotto said there is "no chance" that a SOGIE bill would secure the approval of the upper chamber.

The Senate can approve an anti-discrimination bill but not one that is focused on members ofthe LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) community, he said.—AOL, GMA News