Senator Alan bats for comprehensive anti-discrimination law

For Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, the problem of discrimination in the country will not be solved unless the people acknowledge that it exists.

“Ang dami-daming nakakaranas ng discrimination, not necessarily just because of one reason, but because they’re different,” Cayetano said ahead of the public hearing on Wednesday, May 8, of various bills pertaining to the Comprehensive Anti-Discrimination Act.

“I think everyone in the Senate is against any form of discrimination,” he added.

The pending measures will be deliberated jointly by the Senate Committee on Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development, the Committee on Cultural Communities with Muslim Affairs, and the Committee on Finance.

The bills seek to penalize acts of discrimination on a wide array of grounds, including age, race, religion, political affiliation, gender, relationship status, and physical appearance.

The bills also seek to provide robust protection against all manifestations of prejudice and bias.

Cayetano said aside from acknowledging the existence of discrimination, there is also a need for a good communication strategy to combat it on all fronts.

“Even if culturally we are developing, kulang tayo sa communication and sa comprehensive anti-discrimination law,” he said.

Citing a case that he and his sister, Senator Pia Cayetano, discussed on their public service show Cayetano in Action with Boy Abunda, he highlighted how the lack of law allows the pervasiveness of unjust treatment of people.

“Wala kasi tayong general law on anti-discrimination unlike kapag violence against women and children or any kind of abuse, may general law. In this case kasi per situation,” the senator said during the show, which tackled a case of a plus-size commuter who was constantly jeered at while riding public utility vehicles.

This is not the first time Cayetano has spoken about discrimination at the Senate. During the deliberations for the 2024 national budget, he called for its comprehensive discussion at the committee level.

“This deserves more discussion. We must ensure all perspectives regarding discrimination are heard,” he said during the plenary debates for the 2024 budget in November 2023.

The independent senator has also stressed the need for careful consideration and dialogue, particularly on contentious grounds such as those related to sex, gender, and religion.


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