Racial Discrimination in the Philippines

March 6, 2018 | Author: Ia Dulce Fajardo Atian | Category: Racism, Ethnicity, Race & Gender, Race (Human Categorization), Ethnic Groups, Minority Group
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Racial Discrimination in the Philippines Filipinos have experienced racial discrimination against foreigners, such as our colonizers who referred to Filipinos as indios or negritos, or some other derogatory term. The Filipinos have also been considered as uncivilized, half-savage and uneducated race. While we have experienced such discriminatory acts against us, discrimination of Filipinos against Filipinos have not been a highlighted issue in the country, until recently. In its 20th Periodic Report to the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) in 2008, has made an official stand that, "Racial discrimination has never officially or factually existed in the Philippines, neither in a systemic nor formal nor intermittent nor isolated manner" because "Filipinos have essentially the same racial and ethnic origins." In response, a broad alliance of Indigenous Peoples organizations and support groups submitted a consolidated "Indigenous Peoples of the Philippines ICERD Shadow Report" to the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination in 2009. It cited incidences of militarization, enforced disappearances, harassment, and extra-judicial killings, which has led to discrimination against the right to security of persons, right against illegal searches and seizures, right to protection by the State and right against torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. As what the CERD report stated, "Racial discrimination is alien to the prevailing mores and culture of the Filipino People". In a racial discourse, the issue would immediately be repudiated by a sensitive nationalist notion that, in the end, “we” are all Filipinos. However, as the current news on lumad killings, as well as debates around the Bangsamoro Basic Law show, the treatment of minority groups tends to reflect the country’s poor status when it comes to treatment of race and even acceptance. Racial and Ethnic Inequality in the Philippines Conflict and displacement have excluded minorities, either of religious, ethnolinguistic or even socio-economic class from the benefits of whatever development the Philippines have been able to reap. These minorities are faced with the additional burden of fighting off biases that obstruct their way towards having a good education, better employment, and access to goods and services. To be able to have a better understanding of the varying issues on racial discrimination, the following words must be defined: 

Race - A socially constructed category of people who share biologically transmitted traits that a society defines as important.

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Ethnicity - A shared cultural heritage, which typically involves common ancestors, language and religion. Minorities - Any category of people, identified to be physical or cultural traits, that a society subjects to disadvantages. Can either be racial or ethnic. Lesser number of population in a certain place Prejudice - Consists of rigid prejudgments about some category of people.  Unfounded generalization about an entire category of people.

Types of Prejudice:   

Stereotype - An exaggerated description applied to every person in some category Racism - The assertion that people of one race are less worthy than or even biologically inferior to others. Institutional Racism - Occurs in workplace in the operation of social institutions, including economy, schools, hospitals, the military and the criminal justice system.

Laws on Racial Discrimination The government's stand on the non-existence of racial or ethnic discrimination clearly underscores the reality in society - that discrimination is not acknowledged, is not even given a face, despite the glaring fact that it exists in many places in our country and it actually occurs on a regular basis. Taking these prejudices and accounts of actual discrimination, it is imperative to adhere to international standards and locally enact laws designed to establish a system where no one is excluded from the opportunities that civilized society has to offer. The Philippines, as a state-party to various international instruments, should mobilize resources in order to curb the acts of discrimination. As signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), and as a member of the United Nations General Assembly which has passed two resolutions on discrimination based on religion, the Philippines should undertake measures to ensure that rights and freedoms are enjoyed by all, without distinction as to religion or ethnic origin, among others. Article 7 of the 1981 Declaration provides that “the rights and freedoms set forth in the present Declaration shall be accorded in national legislation in such a manner that everyone shall be able to avail himself of such rights and freedoms in practice.” Article 2 of the ICCPR also states that “Each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes to respect and to ensure to all individuals within its territory and subject to its jurisdiction the rights recognized in the present Covenant, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.” Article 5 of the ICERD obliges State parties to “prohibit and to eliminate racial discrimination in all its

forms and to guarantee the right of everyone, without distinction as to race, colour, or national or ethnic origin, to equality before the law.” In 1992, the General Assembly adopted the UN Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic and Linguistic Minorities, while in September 2007, the UN General Assembly also adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which also provides for non-discrimination of indigenous communities. Laws against discrimination on the basis of ethnicity and/or religious belief is necessary in ensuring that institutions and individuals are reminded of nondiscrimination as a norm that everyone must adhere to, under pain of prosecution, as well as civil and administrative actions. Domestically, the rights of peoples to freedom of religion, as well as those of indigenous peoples are likewise enshrined under the Philippine Constitution. The Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act (IPRA) or Republic Act 8371 has been enacted to ensure that indigenous peoples have equal rights to education, employment, accommodation, access to goods and services, and the like. Other bills are being proposed to strengthen already existing laws related to protection against discrimination. One of the proposed bill is the Anti-Ethnic or Racial Profiling and Discrimination Act of 2011. This proposed legislation seeks to promote a society that values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for human rights, regardless of race, religion or ethnicity. It seeks to fulfill our international commitment under the ICERD, to ensure its full application in our national legal system through the creation of a comprehensive anti-discrimination law with substantial penal provisions. Philippine Jurisprudence on Racial Discrimination INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL ALLIANCE OF EDUCATORS (ISAE), petitioner, vs. HON. LEONARDO A. QUISUMBING, et. al [G.R. No. 128845. June 1, 2000] Public policy abhors discrimination. The Article on Social Justice and Human Rights exhorts Congress to "give highest priority to the enactment of measures that protect and enhance the right of all people to human dignity…” The Constitution directs the State to promote "equality of employment opportunities for all." Similarly, the Labor Code provides that the State shall "ensure equal work opportunities regardless of sex, race or creed." It would be an affront to both the spirit and letter of these provisions if the State, in spite of its primordial obligation to promote and ensure equal employment opportunities, closes its eyes to unequal and discriminatory terms and conditions of employment. Current Issues on Racial Discrimination #StopLumadKillings

On September 1, 2015, lumad tribal leaders and members of killings in Lianga, Surigao del Sur, sparked outrage and caused the country to take notice of the issues the indigenous community were facing. The lumads and their supporters are calling for an end to lumad killings, allegedly perpetrated by the military and paramilitary groups. The mineral-rich ancestral domains of the lumads are being encroached upon by mining companies. “Mindanao is not only a food basket, but also holds the country’s biggest deposit of gold, nickel, and copper found in select areas such as Davao, Agusan del Sur and especially Surigao.” Some rights groups claimed that mining companies are employing some military personnel for protection.

#MuslimType After a bombing incident in Zamboanga, certain police sketch from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) made its rounds online, causing outrage in a number of local circles. It was of a bombing suspect, a man in a hoodie described as a "Muslim type". The NBI's description sparked an online movement in the Muslim community. 5% or 4.93 million of the Population of the Philippines are Muslims. According to a survey conducted, 60% of the Muslim population said they are being discriminated by other Filipinos according to their appearance and religious affair; 20% said they were bullied in class and 30% said they weren’t accepted to jobs because of their religious belief. (Source: Ateneo De Manila University, Current Issues in Filipino Muslims) Is the Philippines a Racist Country? The survey asked respondents what types of people they would refuse to live next to, and counted how many chose the option ‘people of a different race’ as a percentage for each country. Up to an astonishing 39.9% of Filipinos would refuse to live next to people of different race according to the study. (Source: World Values Survey 2014) The use of racially tinged categories is a common practice among upper and middle class Filipinos when it comes to dealing with the lower classes. Thus are the poor often segregated, treated as if they were a different species. “Associated with ignorance and criminality, the poor pose a permanent existential threat to the middle class and the rich. The physical and cultural markers of class segregation – high walls, air conditioned cars, linguistic honorifics – regulate the proximity of the poor and neutralize the dangers coming from this putatively inferior race.” Such vilified representation of class is the engraved in our culture, such as with the obsession of having lighter skin color. Light still represents upper status, that one

trait most Filipinos aspire to possess. Lighter skin retains a certain socio-cultural relevance, whereas having darker skin color brings only ridicule or, at best, indifference. An example of this is the remarks made against the Binays, regarding their dark skin complexion. An article expounds that they are seen as indio usurpers daring to claim for themselves mestizo social privileges. Words such as nognog and other derogatory terms are common in the Philippines. But what is surprising is that Filipinos do not recognize that such sentiments are anti-Filipino. It seems that we are a nation desensitized to the issue on racial discrimination that discrimination persists against Filipinos by Filipinos. Sources: http://www.rappler.com/thought-leaders/97514-racism-philippines http://www.chr.gov.ph/MAIN%20PAGES/about%20hr/position %20papers/pdf/PosPprOnHB401and659.pdf http://www.senate.gov.ph/press_release/2011/0511_legarda2.asp http://www.saligan.org/index.php/archives/60-position-paper-on-the-antidiscrimination-bills.html http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CERD.aspx http://www.rappler.com/technology/social-media/106729-muslim-type-sketchenddiscriminationnow http://www.rappler.com/move-ph/112452-members-mindanao-bishop-conferencecardinal-tagle-expressed-their-support-lumad http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/723671/lumad-killings-extrajudicial-sayschr#ixzz45qqPFjNO http://www.slideshare.net/kristinejoysangalang/racial-and-ethnic-inequality-in-thephilippines http://www.newsgra.ph/1221/filipinos-among-most-racists-world-says-study/

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