December 2, 2022

In celebration of the Pride Month, Baguio and Benguet joined the colorful festival and events spearheaded by the Northern Luzon Pride, with the theme “Segged for love.”

Northern Luzon Pride convenor Mx Kiki Krunch said segged is an Iloco term which means “to start a fire” or “alab.”

“By lighting up the flame of love, we render service to the people, radiate compassion during hard times,”  Kiki Krunch said.

According to Krunch, the Pride Month celebrates and remembers the triumphs of the members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual (LGBTQIA+) community and concurrently a protest to call for equality.

The “Pride 101” was conducted to tackle stories of individuals’ coming out, history and milestones of pride movements, and discussed the fundamental rights and provision of the LGBTQIA+ community.

“We wanted to start the festival with like orientation, especially those who are not part of the LGBTQIA+ community, because we wanted the general audience to understand the history of the pride movement, the pride movement in the Philippines, the current issues that members of the community are facing,” said Faye Marino, Northern Luzon Pride secretary.

Northern Luzon Pride legal counsel Paulo M. Bautista said if laws are applied on LGBT persons, they become gay rights issues.

He added no one has the monopoly in the concept of pride and no one has exclusive right to pride. “Pride is a living concept. It evolves according to the needs of the person.”

Santy Layno, an LGBTQIA+ rights advocate, cited the challenges faced by the individuals part of the community and the umbrella term of the LGBTQIA+.

“What we are fighting for in the LGBTQ community is not special rights as some claim. The LGBTQIA+ community is fighting for equal rights. It is the same rights that everybody is enjoying,” Layno said.

The Baguio city council passed Ordinance 13, s. 2017 or the Anti-Discrimination Ordinance prohibiting and penalizing all forms of discrimination and abuse against citizens, including the LGBT community.

It provides discrimination is characterized as “a distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference made on the basis of disability, age, health status, sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity and religion which has the purpose or effect of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing of the human rights and fundamental freedoms in the civil, political, economic, social, cultural, or any other field of public life of a person.”

Prohibited acts are discrimination in political participation; discrimination in accessing public places, facilities, and public meetings; denial of right to organize; discrimination in education materials, advertisement, mass media; engaging in profiling; discrimination through speeches, utterances, acts of hatred, and similar acts; detention and confinement; and abuses by state and non-state actors.

The ordinance also emphasized the violations on economic, social, and cultural rights: denial of right to work; denial of right to education; denial of access to goods and services; discrimination on accommodation/lodging establishment; inflicting stigma; inciting others to commit acts of discrimination; and inflicting harm on health and well-being.

The ordinance directs the city government to recognize various programs such as the Discrimination and Stigma Reduction Program through capacity building and education campaign; access to scholarships, skills, employment, and livelihood opportunities; access to legal representation; policy review; and Social Protection Program.

The LGBTQIA+ community and partners held a parade march on June 25 to show solidarity and protest and call for the passage of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Expression Equality Bill. – Vjnhyl Zam Pondivida