The need for an anti-discrimination law in the Philippines

Manila Immigration office, flooded with Chinese immigrants [Photo from Nikkei Asian Review, by Kimberly dela Cruz]

By JoeAm

Filipinos generally treat other races with polite consideration. They are courteous to whites, Chinese, Japanese, and everyone else except perhaps blacks, as far as I can judge. Dark-skinned Filipinos are often ridiculed or otherwise treated badly. Women are not discriminated against in the job market, but everyday language is often discriminatory (the President’s rape ‘jokes’). The Duterte Cabinet seems stocked with crusty old men of questionable competence and character, so I’m not sure the current Administration is aligned with modern sensitivities about race and gender.

Attempts have been made to elaborate on the 1987 Constitution with anti-discrimination legislation in 2011, 2014, and 2017 (the 2017 bill was sponsored by Senator Ejercito). But nothing has been passed as law. The UN last year asked the Philippines to stop the practice of labeling Lumads and human rights workers as terrorists, as that is clearly discrimination. The House of Representatives passed legislation last week that protects human rights workers. But not Lumads, apparently.

We read or hear of many anecdotal cases of discriminatory behavior with the flood of Chinese mainlanders coming into the Philippines. Reports tell of Chinese businesses serving only Chinese customers, rude behavior by Chinese toward Filipinos, businesses operating without a license, and Chinese construction workers paid . . . under contracts agreed to by the Philippine government . . . six times what a Filipino construction worker would make for the same job.

A friend of our family told us about an incident with a Korean water supplier who would not provide water to Filipinos, only Koreans. So the problem is not just a Chinese issue. It is a problem with racial profiling done by just about every Asian nationality . . . except Filipinos.

This should be stopped. Immediately. Forcefully. This is the Philippines. This is a warm and welcoming people.

The Ejercito bill seems comprehensive enough. The only issue I have is the mild fine of P20,000 per day for offenses. I believe a distinction should be made between a business (or other organization/agency) and a private individual. Businesses should receive a higher fine. The bigger, the higher. Businesses operating without a proper license should be shut down immediately. Businesses sponsoring discriminatory acts should be fined from P100,000 to P1,000,000 plus P20,000 to P100,000 per day that the behavior persists. In other words, they should know better when they set the business up.

The water dispensing business might get the lowest fine. A construction company refusing to hire qualified Filipino workers might get a higher fine. In fact, I’d remove the fine amount from the bill itself and delegate it to the agencies drawing up the rules and regulations implementing the bill. That way punishments can be adjusted based on enforcement needs.

The best time to certify that the Philippines is an open, welcoming, non-discriminatory society is now, before racial hatreds are allowed to build. Chinese and Filipinos should walk and talk and work as equals. Every nationality should be equal to any other. If the Chinese bosses cannot do this, they should not set up shop in the Philippines. Or Koreans. Or . . .

If Filipinos take up the study of Mandarin, and become competent at it, they should be employed in the Chinese gaming centers with the same salary levels as mainlanders. Enforcement agencies should be empowered to make this so. If Philippine contracts mandate high wages for construction workers, and Filipinos qualify for the jobs, they should receive the jobs and the high pay. Labor ought not be imported to discriminate against Filipinos.

Basically, the State’s position should be.

“We demand equality for all peoples . . . the warm, accepting, harmonious kind. If you can’t do that, go back to the mainland, go broke, or go to jail if the discrimination is egregious enough. Or go back to Korea. Or wherever you can find the racial homogeneity you need that is against the law in the Philippines.”

Something like that.


46 Responses to “The need for an anti-discrimination law in the Philippines”
  1. Ramon Cuerva says:

    Thank you! I will repost.

    On Fri, 7 Jun 2019 at 4:42 PM The Society of Honor: the Philippines wrote:

    > The Society of Honor posted: ” By JoeAm Filipinos generally treat other > races with polite consideration. They are courteous to whites, Chinese, > Japanese, and everyone else except perhaps blacks, as far as I can judge. > Dark-skinned Filipinos are often ridiculed or otherwise treated b” >

  2. NHerrera says:


    Let their foreign counterparts do what these Chinese are doing in the Philippines in China and see what the Chinese government will do to them.

    The best time to certify that the Philippines is an open, welcoming, non-discriminatory society is now, before racial hatreds are allowed to build. Chinese and Filipinos should walk and talk and work as equals. Every nationality should be equal to any other. If the Chinese bosses cannot do this, they should not set up shop in the Philippines. Or Koreans. Or . . .

    It is said that the Filipino is as patient as the carabao. But let not that carabao go berserk or the Filipino go huramentado or run amok. And have such attitude get ingrained.

    • – the late Clinton Palanca wrote this in 2007:

      “what is at present making the situation that much more complicated is the increasing influx of what are often termed the ‘new migrants,’ more properly known as the xinqiao. These are ‘mainlanders’ who have emigrated from China since its reopening and represent an entirely different generation of migrants.” AND he also wrote THIS:

      “The Chinese Filipinos are caught in between—not because their loyalty is divided, as pundits such as Monsod would have it. Their loyalty has remained unchanged—but the friends and neighbors they have lived with for years are suddenly looking at them differently. All parties concerned are beneficiaries of a fragile peace that took three generations to build.

      “Most Chinese Filipinos identify as Filipino—and many are, in fact, the most vocal critics of the economic colonization by China. But many, especially rabble-rousers in search of a scapegoat, don’t know the difference, or don’t care; and as the economy sours further, so mounts the ethnic tension.”

  3. It is in fact surprising that non-citizens are so easily getting work permits. Anti-discrimination is a good thing, but one may and most states do positively discriminate FOR their own citizens.

    No working visa for the USA if an American citizen is found who can do the same job, no EU blue card if the job in question has similarly skilled EU citizens. Foreign companies entering the EU usually may take managers and experts with them, but otherwise MUST look for local employees – meaning citizens and foreigners who already have work permits. Plus there are anti-discrimination laws which prohibit discrimination based on a number of personal criteria, provided other factors such as qualification are equal, but this is more about preventing discrimination of migrants etc.

    • “No working visa for the USA if an American citizen is found who can do the same job, no EU blue card if the job in question has similarly skilled EU citizens.”

      the loophole to this is, ensure it’s something skill or linguistically specific. With restaurants, it’s Thai speaking or Chinese speaking, to ensure the ambience of said business, same with cooking style.

      Massage parlors too, ie. Thai massage or Chinese footmassage or Korean accumpressure— both illicit and legit massage, ie. happy ending and w/out.

      Filipinos tend to go with fake marriages here, and over stay w/out documents, just hide out waiting for amnesty. Also, asylum too is big, ie. NPA or gov’t ‘s gonna kill me if I return.

      Trump’s clamping down on these loopholes now. Too many unskilled, no money folks attempting to come over here; the opposite should be true in the Philippines , the strategy should be to invite more

      Peter Wallace types, Filipinize Europeans , Australians, Canadians, and Americans. To stave off Chinese invasion. 🙂

  4. QuietPoetic says:

    Why none of the Filipino influencers articulate this as an invasion I would not know.

    We think of war and invasion as physical – involves guns, bombs, and the other side surrendering. But this is an economic WAR. The fact that we y’all think of anti-discrimination laws in your own country is a head-scratcher – how did we get here in the first place? Why do Koreans and Chinese work in a third world country like the Philippines – whose own citizens are migrating out for better opportunities?

    We have surrendered and we don’t even know we’re in a war.

    Say it as it is – THIS AN INVASION. No foreigner should be allowed to work in the Philippines, period.

    • That is probably a bit too much to ask for. Foreign spouses of Filipinos/Filipinas for example should be allowed to work. It would be terrible otherwise.

      Foreign companies may bring in managers, but they should have to employ enough locals. Five managers and one Filipina secretary, for example, should not be allowed at all.

      Companies that set up shop and employ only foreigners from top to bottom are truly not OK. No normal country allows that. Maybe a few experts to train locals, then leave – fair enough.

      Special projects may also need foreign expertise. LRT1 had Italian and later Belgian engineers in one phase. Manila-Pangasinan railway famously had English engineers.

      Russians BTW mastered the kind of invasion tactics the Chinese are using now. They built factories in many non-Russian parts of the Soviet Union and sent their people to live there. Latvia (EU country) has a huge Russian minority -. so do Moldavia, Ukraine, Kazahkstan..

    • Micha says:

      “The fact that we think of anti-discrimination laws in our own country is a head-scratcher – how did we get here in the first place?”

      Honestly, I’m surprised that you’re still surprised.

      Being discriminated in your own country cannot be solved by mere legislation when we have a president who slaughters fellow Filipinos like pigs, is totally indifferent to the economic flight of the poor, and one who suggests it might be good to just convert the country into another Chinese province.

    • karlgarcia says:

      Sorry, there are lots of punctuation marks involved on employing expats.
      It took years for some established MNCs to have homegrown CEOs and senior management.
      On another extreme some just plan to stay here for five years or less, so they keep the expat management.
      The bad thing is even the laborer and the blue colars are foreigners.
      The others I wanted to say are already expressed by Irineo.

      • NHerrera says:

        QUESTION: Is this our country or is it a country of every Tom, Dick and Harry — especially, the small Dick from the North? [Sorry for the language. Don’t speka the inglis well.]

    • NH & karl,

      East Asians, that’s Japanese, Koreans and Chinese have a very distinct idea of what being Japanese or Korean or Chinese is, they have very specific notions of “purity”.

      Homogeneity vs. heterogeneity.

      In the 90s, too much of the same bit the Japanese in the arse, they couldn’t progress any farther; now the Koreans have taken the mantle but not only with cheap tech but also now with pop culture stuff (where the Japanese only pretty much exported Hello Kitty).

      The Koreans are ascendant up to the 2000s (maybe still are, but mostly in pop-culture only, tech-wise no), but now the Chinese are ascendant.

      The Chinese idea of purity is based on Han, but China’s real big, so unlike Japanese and Koreans’ specific sense of identity, ie. peninsula and island enclosed. The Chinese is truly more heterogeneous, thus the clamping down of others in China.

      Now Southeast Asians, that’s Vietnamese, Thai, Malaysian, Indonesia and Filipinosian— Cambodian and Laos, don’t really factor in. Burma just came back into the fold, i lump them in with Cambodia and Laos, basket cases.

      But the Filipinosian is the most “heterogeneous” in idea because of all the melting pot stuff from the Americans, and Spain.

      Thais have always been thais never conquered; but Malaysian, Indonesians and by extension Singaporisians have a weird Indian sub-continent flair to its heterogeneity thanks to Britain and history, a third wheel if you will, where as compared to Vietnam which is just Han Chinese vs. Malay.

      So Vietnam is the closest to the Philippines— also going farther south in Indonesia, Indonesia is too. PNG is lump with the South Pacific folk, Khal Drogo’s peeps.

      Malaysia and Indonesia’s homogeneity stems from Islam. Thai from thai; Viet from Viet identity.

      The Filipinese identity, a large part of it thanks to American identity of no identity, more in common with Iberian peninsula and the Americas, is compared to its neighborhood, SE Asia and Asia (sub-continent I lump with Middle East), the Philippines is

      named after a Spanish king, thus really a non-identity. And why a Peter Wallace can be a “Filipino” (Joe too if he were so inclined to be). So Filipine identity is the most Zen, like Bruce Lee’s water.

      Joe: “It is a problem with racial profiling done by just about every Asian nationality . . . except Filipinos.”

      Joe is correct, except Filipinos.

      The solution isn’t to suddenly impose some notion of identity, there is none. The answer is to leverage the fact that Filipinos is named after some European king. a made up identity.

      Make more Peter Wallaces. But this time pick who gets to be “Filipino”. Give Joe and Americans like him there, dual citizenships. Most environmentalists there are of Scandinavian stock, ex-pats, make them Filipinos.

      You wanna fight Chinese/Han invasion; create more Filipinos— your model here is the Miss Universe pageant, and the PBA. 😉

      • Very nice dissection of racial themes in Asia.

      • karlgarcia says:

        “The solution isn’t to suddenly impose some notion of identity, there is none. The answer is to leverage the fact that Filipinos is named after some European king. a made up identity”

        I agree that we can not suddenly impose some notion of identity.
        So if ever we decide to rename the Philppines it will take a long process of forming a commission and Congressional Action.
        (Like Federalism)

        Last February in one of Duterte’s thinking out loud moments, Duterte said he wants to rename the country to Maharlika.

        • This is similar to what Marcos did, Ireneo covered. Basically, using Tagalog for everything. Nationalizing Tagalog, where before the Philippines was the number 1 English speaking nation in Asia.

          This I think is the original sin of Marcos , not all the plunder, after all every Filipino politician does this. And who cares what the high borns do. Like Lord Varys, I care about the realm 😉 , and what this Tagalogizing of the Philippines, created a generation

          of non-English speaking Filipinos. the high borns speaking English good; the low borns now have to suffer English weaponized against them (because they no understood). Hence , why I think new Thomasites have to return to the Philippines, karl.

          They’ll never learn Mandarin in time to be proficient; English is a lot easier to master. It’s like being naturally left handed and forced to be right handed, now Filipinos have to learn to write with their right foot now.

          p.s.— Being named after some King in Spain is an advantage, use it. that’s my point.

          I remember jameboy always got offended when I promoted Filipino-Americans, as saviours of the Philippines. Well it’s either more Chinese from China, or Apl-de-Ap, karl.

          Get Senator Trillanes to expand education abroad programs here, ie. Cal State Universities or UC’s or private universities,

          invite Filipino-Americans to go study and live there.

          I’ve also mentioned, the VA and veteran retirement and housing over here (gov’t based), why not talk to the VA here and have them expand their old folks living arrangement to go over there, that’s gov’t money.

          connect Filipina nurses with old vets. Make more Apl-de-Aps, karl… 😉 and secure their inheritances, love changes living wills. Lol!!!

          These are two programs Senator Trillanes can do right now. This and

          Filipino citizenship for Americans and Europeans there now, who have lived there at least 5 years, and are up standing citizens all in name. a bunch of Scandanavians in Bohol, taking care of the environment and tarsiers. Filipinize them already.

          Sen. Trillanes can be like Jon Snow, the Long Night is coming (although it turned out it was just for one episode 😦 ), but he got wildlings, Northmen, unsullied, Dothraki, dragons, the Red woman, etc. etc. and united them all. The long night is here. China’s every where. He needs

          to come to Dragonstone. 😉 and begin siphoning resources here to go over there for the fight to come.

          • karlgarcia says:

            I thank for your outside the box suggestions, which I have to admit, I got allergic to.

            • So long as you have an Epi-pen close by , karl. You’ll be okay. LOL!

              But of all my suggestions here (the consolidation of nutrition and population control idea 😉 being my most original contribution here), this one isn’t really outside the box suggestion.

              1. Your entertainment industry there already has it.

              2. Int’l beauty pageant contestants.

              3. the PBA there.

              Just follow those models, and scale up and you have your answer to the Chinese invasion there. NH’s article of Diokno on his “invest, invest, invest” call to arms , that’s for your halflings and expats.

              China had a similar program in which they reached out to Chinese scientists working abroad, asked them to return offered them autonomy in research; not too many cutting edge Filipino scientists abroad really, or in general, but there’s a bunch who’d want to be in show-biz there,

              build around that. I still don’t understand how K-Pop got so big, Filipinas are 10x as pretty and artistic than these Koreans. You guys should’ve beat them to the punch. If Roxas is BPO, Bam Negosyo/E-sports,

              Senator Trillanes could totally be the dude that brought F-Pop to the world, he should touch base with Apl-de-Ap and Bruno Mars.

              Leverage strengths!!!

              • sonny says:

                I like the flow, LC! 🙂 Reminds me of Dick Shawn stream of consciousness monologs.

  5. “A friend of our family told us about an incident with a Korean water supplier who would not provide water to Filipinos, only Koreans. So the problem is not just a Chinese issue. It is a problem with racial profiling done by just about every Asian nationality . . . except Filipinos.”

    I don’t know how it is now, I assume worst, given the trajectory then. But in Mactan island, when I was there mid-2000s, All KTVs, bars and some small time gambling establishments were owned by Koreans, for Koreans. Hotels too, both regular and short-time types.

    Only Koreans could partake. Ironically, Koreans were also in Cebu proper mainly to study, where every time one of them wanted to go up any building more than 5 story up, they’d be denied by Filipinos, I guess because Koreans were prone to jump off high rise buildings for suicide. So a good kind of “discrimination”, i suppose. 😉

    Fast forward fifteen years or so, now with the advent of K-pop , etc. I’m sure Mactan island is fully Korean now. Wanna off-set that fact, house most of the US troops there in Mactan— you’ll have half American/half-Korean babies in no time, affecting Korean sensibilities of purety.

    My point, maybe increased US military presence is the solution, Joe? that and increase funding for new Thomasites, funded under USAID and AmeriCorps. As with the old Thomasites , tasked with simply teaching Filipinos English, with some culture too. soft-power at its best.

    The Korean invasion is concentrated in Mactan island mainly, thus an easier fix; now, for the Chinese invasion it is much bigger, but I assume more Thomasites in the provinces as well as swank universities there (no military presence), should be part of any solution.

    Call it the New Thomasites initiative!!!

    • karlgarcia says:

      If the wiki article is accurate, compared to a decade ago, the number of Koreans diminished by 31%.
      Maybe they moved to Canada or the US after learning their English here.

      But Mactan is the place where Korean Mafia abounds if we are to believe Duterte.

      • The Chinese over here and in say HK etc. etc. tend to organize criminally around brotherhoods and gangs.

        The Japanese have yakuza and street gangs in Japan, but never had any of those over here, I think much of that was the result of internment camps during WWII.

        The Koreans here don’t tend to organize around brotherhoods, gangs, etc. they tend to organize around church, Korean christian churches… don’t get me wrong, Koreans are the fightingest East Asians I know, they are like Klingons, always aggressive and fighting,

        but I never heard of mafia type organizations while there. not in mactan, not over here.

        Talks of Chinese organized crime, i’ll believe, it’s consistent. Yakuza sure, i’ve seen Rising Sun w/ Wesley Snipes. But koreans and mafia, never heard of it. You’re right, they’ve probably moved on to greener pastures,

        many actually become pastors, thus secure their visas to come here. Koreans and their churches, karl. Not mafia per se, look into their churches. I’ve never seen people so drunk off Christ, literally and figuratively. 😉

        • Though Mactan island PNP was rumored to be the dirrrtiest in Cebu, karl… so maybe that’s the connection there. not so much Korean mafia???

        • karlgarcia says:

          Urban legend perhaps.(Re:Mafia)
          Thanks for the additional information.

          • Probably in the philippines best interest to keep Koreans and Japanese as friends, karl. Just keep in mind that most East Asians look down on Filipinos.

            • karlgarcia says:

              Korean gangs. I watch korean drama too.



              I was told that people who look down on people are just admiring their shoes.Or may have a foot fetish.

              • Well there’s gangs everywhere for sure, karl.

                But I think Korean gangs/mafia never extended internationally, say like the tongs/triads (who extended to California in the late 1800s), but Japanese although Japanese pirates did ply the waters even around the Philippines in the 1800s never really got a foot hold in the US— a lot of Japanese in Peru, then to Bolivia and Brazil, don’t think they blip there either.

                So too Korean mafia. Hence, doubtful that they are in Mactan island. I know in say Kuala Lumpur or in Japan they have advisories to visiting military saying stay away from this or that establishment because it’s a known Chinese mafia (Kuala Lumpur and HK) or Japanese mafia (Tokyo, etc.) hang out. not that they’ll target you per se, but best to stay away typa warning.

                But as far as I know i’ve never heard similar advisories not in the Philippines not in Korea about Korean mafia. So Chinese mafia blips on the radar, so too Japanese mafia (though only in Japan), but never Korean mafia. In fairness, Chinese and Japanese mafias didn’t blip (at least for State Dept advisories) in the Philippines either.

                In addition, the definition of a good mafia or crime syndicate is that it doesn’t suppose to blip period, secret and silent. under the radar. But , IMHO there’s just a bunch of Koreans because they were able to buy there when it was still available, backwaters, now it’s prime reality and they’ve made bank.

                i.e., a bunch of private English schools/tutoring sprouted in the area, so Koreans don’t have to trek all the way to Cebu City, thus enclosed pretty much. there’s no natural water reservoirs, so water is an issue in Bohol. I’m sure more so now, hence that bridge to Mactan island Bohol is badly needed. Maybe this is the smoke screen, karl, DU30 just wants to push out Koreans from Mactan. i dunno.

                As for looking at shoes, a good habit to have in police states, always look down at shoes, raggedy clothes raggedy shoes, just some poor local dude; raggedy clothes expensive shoes, you’re being minded and/or tracked!!! Carry on being a tourist. mafias will have expensive clothes expensive shoes.

              • there’s no natural water reservoirs, so water is an issue in *Bohol. (sorry, *Mactan i meant )

  6. Micha says:

    We cannot legislate dignity and fair treatment unless and until we get rid of that treasonous moron in Malacanang.

  7. karlgarcia says:

    I am just guessing why the comprehensive bill of Ejercito did not even move.
    There is already a Committee Report on an Anti-Discrimination Act based of Sexual orientation.
    A comprehensive bill will have to be referred to too many committees .

  8. caliphman says:

    I find it ironic that a people that have been colonized or undergoing colonization are protesting that nationals from their colonial masters get preferential pay or treatment when they work as ecpats here. Such has always been the case, when the Spanish came with their swords and crosses and bestowed their countrymen the best jobs, lands and social status the colony could offer. When the Americans took over and even after granting their colony independence, American expats and even local hires were accorded special status abd economic priivileges denied their Filipino coworkers.
    It is just totally bizarre that the Duterte regime has acquiesced to welcoming their Chinese partners as the country’s colonial masters for either some hidden private bargain or questionable political agenda and is borrowing billions of yuan and for the privilege of paying mainland expat labor premium wages funded by the same usurious loans. It is just as pathetic if it is the the intent of the law being enacted in the Senate by those who are being colonized to dissuade their colonizers from discriminating against Filipinos in their own country. For a regime that prides itself in extrajudicial killings, paying no heed to the constitution as well acting like overseers of a Chinese privincr, all I have to say is good luck with that!

    • Andres 2018. says:

      It seems it is part of the loan contract that Chinese firms and Chinese workers will do the projects funded by the Chinese loans. The Philippines way out of this is that Chinese firms and Chinese workers should be tax on their income here since the situs is here.

  9. Andres 2018. says:

    Rule of thumb: If its in the Philippines, it should be Filipino first. That means unfair treatment of foreigners when they are up against Filipinos.

  10. NHerrera says:


    Boo Chanco is a journalist specializing in business-economy related items. In a recent article,

    he made kind remarks on the aspirations of the BSP Governor Ben Diokno for the country. He also notes that the Governor is not enthusiastic about the Current Administration pushing for the divisive Federalism idea in the second half of its term — instead of focusing its political capital on matters related to inclusive economic growth.

    Ben Diokno in a speech, gave “the assurance that the Philippine economy is sound. It is one of the best performing economies in the world. Its prospects are bright—extremely bright. And if you have money to invest, this is the best time to invest, invest, invest in the Philippines. Do not delay, do not waver. Because if you do, you will regret it.”

    But Boo Chanco made this rather naughty remark — which he prefaced earlier in his article about companies fleeing China because of the ongoing US-China Trade War, these companies preferring to go to such country as Vietnam rather than the PH — which I believe hits the spot: Gov. Ben is asking for an act of faith that they [the government] will deliver [on its economic reforms] as promised. We first need to see proof of life.

    • NH,

      This IMHO is the best litmus test. Bridge/viaduct to Bohol from Mactan island. Cebu/Mactan gets fresh water from Bohol (salt water intrusion, plus no reservoirs in Cebu is a problem ), then from Cebu electricity. Water & Power.

      DU30 need only deliver this bridge, albeit with quality and no debt bs, quality good working bridge. I know there are other build, build, build projects over there, but this is the only one that really matters, and will seal his legacy.

      So all DU30 has to do is focus his energy here, to ensure quality and a good price, w/out all the same crap happening that already happened in Africa and Latin America.

      As before Mactan island is where it’s at. Like Magellan , DU30 will either make it or break it here. Mactan Island.

  11. Lino Sison says:

    Tired of being other peoples’ doormat.

Leave a Reply to The Society of Honor Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: