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Davao pioneers anti-discrimination law

Minorities applaud tough new rules

Davao yesterday became the first city in the country to outlaw discrimination over faith, sexual orientation or physical appearance with offenders liable for possible prison time.

Vice-Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, known locally as a tough enforcer of laws, said the new ordinance represented natural progression for a society hoping to avoid violence and disorder.

“We have to put a stop to this social scourge,” he said.

The new legal measure sets fines of 1,000 pesos (US$24) for first-time offenders rising to 5,000 pesos plus 15 days in prison for those found guilty of discrimination for a third time.

Although the measure was widely heralded by the gay community in Davao City, Duterte said the ordinance was just a tool to correct society.

“It is you and you alone who can earn respect and acceptance for yourselves. If you want to be respected then be respectable,” he said.

Pidot Villocino, a member of Ang Ladlad, a gay group which has registered for previous elections, called the new measure “historic” and a boost for the cause of lesbians, gays and transvestites.

Dr Jean Lindo, a women’s rights activist, also applauded the new legal measure.

“What is being laid down by this ordinance is something that is supposed to be organic in our culture and consciousness,” she said.

Wadiyyulkhaer Ibn Mohammad, a Muslim entrepreneur in Davao, said he was proud the city had pioneered measures to tackle discrimination in the Philippines.

“This law mirrors what is being taught by Islam, that there is supposed to be tolerance and respect for all,” he said.

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