“All we ask is [for them] to tone down the kind of acts they do, and definitely no to lewd performances,” said Raffy Cataquis, the municipality’s administrative assistant for information, who spoke on behalf of Mayor Hubbert Christopher Dolor.
Cataquis issued the clarification after the Ladlad Partylist, in a statement on Thursday, claimed that bar owners have been complaining that Puerto Galera officials were disallowing gay talents to perform in shows supposedly because of their “lewdness.”
“It would be a violation of the right to work,” said the partylist that champions the rights of Filipinos who are lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders (LGBT).
“The owners reportedly were alarmed because their coffers will surely get affected because their patrons are always looking for the gay performers,” Ladlad said.Bemz Benedito, the group’s nominee for a congressional seat, said in the statement that instead of banning gay talents, the municipal government should enact an ordinance that would prohibit children from entering comedy bars to watch such shows or setting age limits for watching gay acts.
“In a comedy bar, children should not be allowed because of the sensitivity of the language being used in this kind of entertainment. Besides you cannot control the performers on what to say and do on stage,” Benedito said. “In television, you have an agency that reviews and classifies programs that suits the right age of its viewers.”
But Cataquis said that if Ladlad was referring to bars along White Beach in Barangay San Isidro, no such restrictions would work because these establishments are open-air bars on the beach.
Cataquis said he would talk with the bar owners to hear their complaints and find a way to resolve the local government’s concern over “lewd” performances.
He said Dolor was open to dialogue with Ladlad representatives led by Benedito who planned to visit Puerto Galera to discuss the matter with the mayor and other officials.
Cataquis defended Dolor, saying the mayor “is not sexist, as others would claim.”
“Otherwise, he would not trust a gay like me to a position in government,” added Cataquis.
Puerto Galera, the northwesternmost town of Oriental Mindoro, is a popular tourist destination known for its beaches and diving spots.