Sadly Ethnic, Racial or Religious Discrimination is rife in the Philippines, however things do seem to be improving.
Despite widespread Ethnic, Racial or Religious Discrimination it is illegal in the Philippines. Two years ago we did an article on the PRESIDENTIAL DECREE No. 966 July 20, 1976 which made racial discrimination a criminal offence. We have now discovered there are other laws such as the ANTI-ETHNIC OR RACIAL PROFILING AND DISCRIMINATION ACT OF 2011 which goes into more detail.
First lets look at discrimination in the Philippines
Discrimination on what region a person comes from is widespread, people from other regions are often looked down on, seen as inferior and discriminated against.
People from indigenous groups such as Aeta are often discriminated against and regarded as inferior because of their darker skin.
Discrimination against Foreigners
If you are a foreigner you will often come across discrimination.
The most common form of discrimination towards foreigners is over charging for goods and services. It is so common it has even been given the name “White man’s tax” by expats living in the Philippines.
It is very common for anything from a few peso being added to the price or even doubling or tripling the price because of the colour of a person’s skin.
If you own a shop or a stall and think over charging foreigners is a good idea to get a bit of extra money from a gullible foreigner, think again he might not be as gullible as you think and you could find yourself in jail and/or with a big fine, all for the sake of a few extra peso.
When having work done on your house prices often go through the roof (no pun intended) and it does not end at the quote, they will carry it on demanding more and more money than first quoted for materials etc. These demands for more money are often so blatant, that they are not just trying to con you they are treating you like you are stupid.
Some Filipinos think they are superior to all other races, the funny thing about this attitude is normally the most unintelligent Filipinos that have this attitude. They often treat foreigners like they are stupid because of their belief and try to con them with con tricks that even a fool could see through. This is by no means a Filipino thing, some of the most unintelligent in the UK and America think they are superior to all other races.
When there is a disagreement a few Filipinos will say to a foreigner “You have no rights as it is not your country.” If you are one of these people, sorry to burst your bubble, a foreigner has many rights in the Philippines and it is written into law.
I must point out that the observations above do not apply to dealings with all Filipinos, the majority are good people who will treat you with respect, unfortunately it is the ones that do discriminate that people remember and tend to get talked about more, while we hardly notice the good people.
Discrimination by Foreigners
Sadly there is a small minority of foreigners in the Philippines that discriminate against Filipino and people of other races such as Chinese, Indian etc. also people because of their religious beliefs.
Some foreigners think they are superior to others and look down on people that are not the same as them as being inferior. Why they came to live in a country full of people they think are inferior is something I can not work out.
Some think of Filipina women as sex objects these are the type you will often find hanging round bars.
Please do not hate all foreigners because of the attitude of a few. The vast majority of foreigners are nothing like that and keep themselves to themselves and will show you the same respect you show them. Again it is the ones that discriminate that gets noticed and give the good ones a bad name.
Discrimination on the grounds of Religious Belief
Discrimination on the grounds of religious belief is also rife in the Philippines and it comes from all sides, Some Filipinos and some foreigners are guilty of this.
I am an atheist and while most people accept it, others ask why and seem puzzled by it, but a few have called me evil, the devil and one said something that sounded like an indirect death threat.
I have a lot of Muslims live near me and there has been times after I spoke to them another Filipino whispered to me “His a Muslim” as if I should be scared because I was talking to a Muslim. I always reply “So what? Do you have a problem with me talking to him?” which tends to shut them up.
Some Filipinos do seem to look down on them or fear them, but not as much as some foreigners do.
The problem of people discriminating on the grounds of religion is present in the Philippines, but at nowhere near the level it is in the West at the moment.
Penalty for Ethnic, Racial or Religious Discrimination in the Philippines
If you are the type of person that discriminates on the grounds of Ethnicity, Race or Religion, I would strongly recommend you too stop.
Cases ending up in court are rare mainly because the people being discriminated against are unaware there are laws to protect them from discrimination. However this does not make you safe, it only takes a Google search for them to discover they can put a case against you and for you to be fined, jailed or both.
A sentence of up to 1 year in jail and/or a 100,000 peso fine is possible.