Pride in Pasig City
Photograph courtesy of Skyler Morningstar Parade queen of the Santa Cruz contingent.
The Philippine Pride celebration in June 2022 marked several milestones with the return to onsite events after two years of lockdowns and restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic. One is the first simultaneous holding of different Pride events nationwide led by Alab for Love Pride PH Festival in Quezon City on 25 June. Another is the first Pride events of some cities and municipalities including Pasig City in eastern National Capital Region.
The local government of Pasig City held its first Pride parade on 27 June, part of a weeklong series of events in celebration of 449th Araw ng Pasig or anniversary of its establishment as a parish in 1573, which culminated on 2 July.
The Martsa ng Pag-asa: Pasig City Pride March was participated in by rainbow flag-waving contingents from Pasig’s 30 barangays, bringing along floats decorated with balloons and colorful buntings, and dancers and led by queens in eye-catching costumes, as well as from non-government and LGBTQ+ organizations.
Bannering the theme, “Unity Defying Adversity,” the historic march started in late afternoon at the Arcovia City township in the barangay of Ugong and went through Eulogio Rodriguez Jr. Avenue, Eagle Street, Dr. Sixto Antonio Avenue, Apolinario Mabini Street and E. Caruncho Avenue. It ended at the Pasig City Hall, where an evening program was held.
The program was attended by city government and barangay officials. Among the councilors, Corazon “Cory” Raymundo pushed for the holding of the Pride march and highlighted in her message that the LGBTQ+ people should be loved and accepted, discrimination and violence should be condemned and that Pasig City now has ordinances to promote the LGBTQ+ community and promote their rights. She also led the pledge of solidarity of the city officials.
Rey Espina of the Gender and Development Office delivered his welcome remarks, emphasizing that “LGBTQ+ rights are also human rights” and “every gender should be valued.” Gay film director and producer Perci Intalan, who grew up in Pasig, graced the event and said he did not expect that he would live to see that being one’s true self will be celebrated.
With the image of the rainbow flag projected on the façade of Pasig City Hall, serving as backdrop, the program featured performances by the Raging Divas of the Library, Benjie Reyes, OG Mon and Rajaj, and the Amazing Colorguard and recognition of LGBTQ+ individuals in public service, pageantry, entertainment and other fields.
While Martsa ng Pag-asa is considered the first official Pride celebration of Pasig, there was a Pride parade held on 20 March as one of the preliminary events of “PasigLaban Para sa TRoPa,” the momentous and
volunteer-driven grand campaign rally of presidential candidate Leni Robredo and vice-presidential candidate Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, along with Army for Leni-Kiko Grand Meet Up, Accountants 4 Leni Unity Walk and Healthcare Workers Solidarity Walk.
The Pasig Pride Parade went around Ortigas Center — Dona Julia Vargas Avenue, Garnet Road, Ortigas Avenue, Ruby Road and Emerald Avenue. A program at Ortigas Park was held with guests Mela Franco Habijan and Amber Quiban and performers Lady Gagita, Moonlight, Steffi Licheon, Eula Hoops and Myx Chanel before the main program along Emerald Avenue, which drew around 130,000 people.
A day before the Pasig City Pride March, on 26 June, another Pride event at Arcovia City — the LoveCon: The LoveYourself Pride Convention — was held.
The event featured a fair with booths showcasing small businesses and different activities, a program of speeches and performances and a High Heels Protest. Performers included Miguel Odron, Matthew Chang, Mark Andreev, Jayper Palma, JA Quintana, Kio Priest, Angat Buhay All Stars, Lady Gagita, DeeDee Marie Holliday, Maria Christina, Gorgeous Dawn, Myx Chanel, Aries Night, Maniqueen, Martha Amethyst, Moonlight, Cardi XD, Judith, Citrina, Matilduh, Muah Dayaw, Alab Poi Fire and LED Dancers, House of Empress, Pixie Labrador and DJ Patty Tiu. The program was hosted by Clea Torress, Joy Barcoma and Peabo.
The organizer, LoveYourself, Inc., is a non-profit LGBTQ+ organization that focuses on health and offers free HIV testing, counseling, treatment, and life coaching. Megaworld Lifestyle Malls was a major supporter, and LoveCon was part of its “It’s A Colorful World at Megaworld” initiative. That campaign included hosting LGBTQ+ Pride Month celebrations of organizations. A campaign video was also released, made in partnership with LoveYourself Inc., and featuring LGBTQ+ members Bet Domingo, Rica Salomon and Jace Abad.
The Arco de Emperador, a landmark in Arcovia City, was again lit up with rainbow colors.
In her message during the Martsa ng Pag-asa, Pasig City councilor Cory Raymundo mentioned ordinances of LGBTQ+ inclusivity and protection
— Ordinance No. 4, S. of 2022 or the LGBTQ+ Comprehensive Anti-Discrimination Ordinance of Pasig 2022, and Ordinance No. 5, s. of 2022, or the Pasig City Pride Development Council. With councilor Rhichie Gerard T. Brown as principal author and sponsor, the ordinances were signed by mayor Vico Sotto on 17 March.
The LGBTQ+ Comprehensive Anti-Discrimination Ordinance prohibits any person from committing any act of discrimination against a person based on sexual orientation, and gender identity and expression (SOGIE), similar to other anti-discrimination ordinances in the country. It also provides mechanisms for implementation and outlines penalties for violators.
“Pasig City is strongly against gender-based discrimination and shall pursue strong measures to prevent and deal with, in the strongest terms, acts of violence and discrimination against women, LGBTQ+ and children,” the local law says.
It additionally says that “the city government shall pursue and implement vigorously gender responsive development policies, design and integrate specific gender support systems, take into consideration LGBTQ+ right to economic survival, political participation, self-determination and personal empowerment, adopt and implement measures to protect and promote their rights, and ensure their widest participation from the sectors: The local government, non-governmental organizations and civil society organizations and the private/business sectors in all phases of the development program cycle.”
The ordinance prohibits verbal and non-verbal abuse, vilification, harassment, threats, and other unjust acts such as detention against LGBTQ+ persons in the city. It also outlines prohibited discriminatory circumstances in employment, education, accommodation, delivery of services and other areas. These include dismissal and limiting of opportunities of employee as well as refusal of admission in school based on SOGIE. Schools must also create their own gender-inclusive and non-discriminatory policies.
It is also unlawful to discriminate persons who do not dress “in accordance with the society’s traditional expectation.”
The law provides response mechanisms as well as penalties for violations which include imprisonment, fines and attendance to SOGIE awareness seminar. It also mandates the establishment of gender-inclusive and neutral comfort rooms, capacity training of responsible officials and observance of LGBTQ+ events.
On the other hand, the Pasig City Pride Development Council Ordinance is meant to ensure and monitor the implementation of the anti-discrimination law and formulate policies as well as develop programs for the empowerment of the LGBTQ+ community.
To be composed of city officials, police and representatives from the LGBTQ+ sector, the council will oversee the implementation of a development plan, which tackle different areas such as governance, education, economic well-being, health, social protection, community involvement and inclusion, and gender-based violence and security.
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