Monday, April 21, 2008

Bill vs discrimination to be pushed anew

Cebu Daily News
Posted date: April 19, 2008

A PARTYLIST representative seeks to revive a bill against discrimination following the traumatic experience of a gay florist who became the brunt of jokes after his surgery to remove a body spray from his rectum was circulated in YouTube and cellular phones.
Partylist Rep. Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel of Akbayan said there was a need to schedule the deliberation of House Bill (HB) No. 956 following the Internet videotape scandal gripping the Vicente Sotto Medical Memorial Center (VSMMC).
"I called Hon. Lorenzo Tanada, head of the Committee on Human Rights, to give time to the deliberation of this Anti-Discrimination Act because I am or we in Akbayan were really saddened about what had happened in this Vicente Sotto incident," said Baraquel who was in Cebu to speak in a forum on good governance.
She said she was saddened by what happened to Danilo (not his real name), the 39-year-old florist who underwent a rectal surgery to remove the metal can of Black Suede body spray from his rectum.
The videotape of the surgery was circulated in YouTube and in cellular phones. In the videotape, VSMMC medical staffers were heard making fun at the patient who was unconscious. There were over 10 people inside the operating room, some were videotaping the procedure using their cameras and cellular phones.
Baraquel showed up during the press conference of Basak Pardo barangay captain Dave Tumulak, who was assisting Danilo in his case, to show her support to the patient.
Tumulak said the legislator promised to file a bill on Monday, seeking to conduct a congressional inquiry on the matter.
He said the inquiry, which would be conducted in aid of legislation, would seek to determine how to strengthen the laws protecting the rights of homosexuals so they would be subject to discrimination.
According to Baraquel, she filed HB 956 or Anti-Discrimination Act on July 10, 2007.
But, she said the bill, which seeks to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, remained pending at the House Committee on Human Rights.
Under the bill, it is considered unlawful if a person will be denied access to public service, medical and health services, educational institutions and employment because of his sexual orientation.
It is unlawful to anyone who will force any person to medical and psychological examination without the consent of the person involved and to harass someone because of the person's sexual orientation or gender identity.
Violators will face a fine of not less than P100,000 but not more than P500,000 or imprisonment of from one year to six years or both at the discretion of the court.
In addition, community service in terms of human rights education to the perpetrator and exposure to the plight of the victims can be imposed at the discretion of the court. Kimberly May Villacrucis, UP Masscom Intern

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