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Zamboanga City’s New Anti-Discrimination Ordinance

The ordinance does not only prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression but also on the basis of race, color, civil and social status, language, religion, national or social origin, culture and ethnicity, property, birth or age, disability and health status, creed and ideological beliefs, and physical appearance

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Photograph courtesy of Bong Serondo Zamboanga City Mayor Maria Isabelle ‘Beng’ Climaco-Salazar signs Ordinance 543 or the Comprehensive Anti-Discrimination Ordinance.

Zamboanga City in western Mindanao now has a local law protecting the LGBTQ+ community as well as other sectors, Mayor Maria Isabelle “Beng” Climaco-Salazar signed on 14 October Ordinance 543 or the Comprehensive Anti-Discrimination Ordinance.

The ordinance does not only prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression but also on the basis of race, color, civil and social status, language, religion, national or social origin, culture and ethnicity, property, birth or age, disability and health status, creed and ideological beliefs, and physical appearance.

The local law was signed at the City Hall Conference Room with vice mayor Rommel Agan, is one of the authors of the ordinance.

Present were councilor Tungku Hanapi and representatives from the local LGBTQ+ community, particularly Mujer-LGBT Organization Incorporated, as well as from other groups such as people with disabilities, faith-based organizations and indigenous peoples.

The ordinance has been in gestation for about two years.

It passed the third and final reading at the Sangguniang Panglunsod of the City of Zamboanga on 6 October 2020.

“It was a long and difficult battle. I remember well how I had to face dissent and opposition both from within the halls of the City Council and outside.

But I was determined for this fight.

We persevered and endured criticism.

Yes, we retaliated.

But we retaliated with education.

We made them understand our purpose, and what it means to be in the shoes of those oppressed,” related councilor Lilibeth Macrohon Nuño, who championed the ordinance.

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