The Philippine House of Representatives approved on Wednesday the third and final reading of a bill banning discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity to protect the rights of LGBT in the country.
Lawmakers passed House Bill Number 4982 or an Act Prohibiting Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity or Expression—also known as the SOGIE Equality Bill—by 197 lawmakers to zero, with no abstentions.
The bill states that those who discriminate based on gender can be fined anywhere from PHP100,000 (US$2,000) to PHP500,000 (US$10,000) and/or imprisoned between one and six years.
The court can also impose community service and human rights education to those found guilty.
The SOGIE bill also includes plans for government programs and policies that "seek to establish and maintain an environment free of stigma and discrimination," including requiring government agencies, private companies, and educational institutions to establish diversity programs that will teach human rights, gender sensitivity, and awareness.
Philippine's first Transgender lawmaker Bataan Rep. Geraldine Roman led lawmakers in waving a rainbow flag before the third reading of the bill.