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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

CEBU CITY ANTI-DISCRIMINATION ORDINACE



Councilor Alvin Dizon's sponsorship speech for the passage of the Cebu City Anti-Discriminatory Ordinance: 


My distinguished colleagues of the Cebu City council, guests, friends, good morning!

Two days ago, we have witnessed a historic milestone which marks an initial victory to an elusive dream for peace in the Southern Philippines. It has been a long and painful journey but it’s worth the wait and finally, we can see the sunshine of hope and peace shining for our Muslim brothers and sisters.

The Bangsamoro struggle warrants a reflection on the fundamental rights to equality and human dignity. It teaches us that coexistence within the framework of peace, tolerance and human rights are not only possible but also achievable.

This very same framework is at the heart of this proposed legislative measure that this humble representation together with my co-proponents desire for this August Body to consider as an expression of our firm commitment to the universality of human dignity and respect for human rights.

The proponents of the Anti-Discrimination Ordinance, namely, Councilors Margot Osmena, Nida Cabrera, Lea Japson, Augustus Pe Jr. and John Phillip Po and I, firmly believe that it is high time that we institutionalize an anti-discrimination policy in Cebu City to concretize our commitment and actions for the promotion and protection of basic human rights as provided for in our Constitution.

More importantly, we believe that it is incumbent upon us to nurture a culture of respect and make inclusion and acceptance real in our city.

Discrimination is an existing and serious concern in our society. In our consultations and dialogues with various sectors such as the LGBT community, persons with disability, senior citizens, youth and students, and the Muslim community in Cebu, we have come to know the wide extent and seriousness of the problem.

In Cebu City, a Muslim woman was denied entry into a bank for wearing a hijab. A HIV-positive person was denied treatment, at the last minute, by a physician upon knowing of his real condition. A person who previously had leprosy but medically declared free from the disease could still not find any work because the scars discourage or perhaps frighten prospective employers. Some business establishments, on the other hand, require women applicants to take pregnancy tests as part of their screening process. Gays, lesbians and transgenders find it difficult which comfort room to use where they will not be sneered at.

The Psychological Association of the Philippines (PAP), a national organization of psychologists in the country revealed that discrimination is harmful to mental health and public good.

This ordinance, if approve, will give us our rightful place in history. This generation and the generations to come will remember us for championing the cause of human dignity, respect and tolerance. Let this 12th Sangguniang Panglungsod of the City of Cebu be known for its strong commitment to the principles of equality and human rights for all, without discrimination.

Let our City, not only be known as a “City of Culture,” but a City where respect for diversity becomes the prevailing culture. And finally, this proposed legislation hopes to build a healthier, more peaceful, and more inclusive City.

Members of this August Body, in behalf of my co-proponents, may I now respectfully move for the approval of this ordinance.

Note: Today, the City Council unanimously passed the ORDINANCE PROHIBITING DISCRIMINATION IN THE CITY OF CEBU ON THE BASIS OF DISABILITY, AGE, HEALTH STATUS, SEXUAL ORIENTATION AND GENDER IDENTITY, ETHNICITY AND RELIGION

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