Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan is now pushing the City Council to enact a measure to protect and promote the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Angelenos.
“I want Angeles City to be the most sensitive city and local government in the Philippines to gender equality and gay rights,” said Pamintuan, the executive of the city that established the country’s first Women’s Desk in any Philippine local government and a trailblazer in the implementation of the Gender and Development (GAD) program.
The mayor was rallying for support for gay rights as he spoke before some 80 leaders and guests of the United Gay Power Movement (UGPM) including Vice-Mayor Vicenta Vega-Cabigtin, city councilors Edgardo Pamintuan Jr., Jericho Aguas, Maricel Morales, Alex Indiongco and Alfie Bonifacio at the Induction Ceremony of UGPM officers at Batis Asul Resort.
“Dito po sa syudad ng Angeles, ang karapatan ng isa ay karapatan ng lahat. [Here in Angeles, one’s right is everyone’s right.] Consider Angeles City as a hallowed ground insofar as respecting and advancing the rights and welfare of all citizens are concerned,” he said.
Pamintuan announced that he has directed the creation of a Gay Rights Desk as an adjunct of the Angeles City Multi-Sectoral Consultative Council (ACMCC) where LGBTs in Angeles can expect various types of services and projects for the promotion of their rights and welfare.
This, he said is “our way of recognizing the role and potentials of the gay sector in the development and progress of our city.
ACMCC is a citizen consultative mechanism where vital programs and decisions of the city government are consulted, processed and discussed with.
Michelle Jhoie Ferraris, a multi-talented artistic choreographer, director and the newly-elected president of UGPM, was delighted over Pamintuan’s expressed appreciation and support for the gay sector in the city.
“We are thankful of the city government’s support in the endeavors of the gay community in Angeles leading towards our full empowerment as a sector. Through united gay power and action, we will show the community what we are here not just to make you beautiful, not only to make you laugh, but even more so, to actively contribute in the genuine development of this vibrant city and our society,” said Ferraris in her welcome speech.
Ferraris also exhorted the gay and lesbian attendees to support and advocate for House Bill 1483 (Anti-Discrimination Act) filed by Rep. Teddy Casino of Bayan Muna Party-list in the House of Representatives. The bill aims to penalize discriminatory practices against homosexual and transgender Filipinos in workplaces, public facilities, schools, and government offices.
Goya Candelario, spokesperson of the Progressive Organization of Gays in the Philippines (ProGay) praised Mayor Pamintuan for his foresight and making the city welcoming to LGBTs.
ProGay is working with UGPM and the ACMCC in executing the commitments of the City Government to the LGBTs in the setting-up of a Gay Rights Desk and in the enactment of the Anti-Discrimination Ordinance.
As its first major project, UGPM will stage an LGBT Pride Parade in December as part of the commemoration of the World AIDS Day and to promote recognition and consciousness of gay rights among Angelenos.