The “City of love”, Iloilo, is scheduled to host the first Pride parade in Region VI* on November 26.
Though the parade is being co-organized by UP Lipad, Iloilo Pride Team and Bahaghari LGBT Organization, it is being helmed by the Region VI chapter of London, UK-headquartered Amnesty International (AI), which espouses LGBT human rights around the world.
This year’s gathering will be themed “Be Yourself Change The World #Be Proud”.
As part of the gathering, AI Region VI will implement “Yogyakarta”, a nationwide effort to increase awareness on the Yogyakarta Principles; and will take part in AI’s “rainbow flag tour” that will see Region VI receive the LGBT flag from AIPh Youth, and then send it off to Baguio City for their December 2 Pride. Other participants of the “rainbow flag tour” are General Santos City, which will have its Pride on December 1, and Davao City, which will have its Pride on December 10.
To ensure that the local LGBT community’s Pride is not hijacked by non-Region VI bodies, Justin Francis Bionat – vice chairperson for the Visayas of Bahaghari LGBT Organization – said that “everything about the planning and the running of Pride will be by the local LGBT community. Ownership is important to us to ensure that this becomes and stays relevant to us.”
*On a technicality, Bacolod may claim to have had the first Pride event in Region VI, when the city held such in 2014. However, in 2015, former Pres. Benigno Aquino III signed Executive Order No. 183, s. 2015, which separated Negros Occidental from Western Visayas and transferred to the newly created Negros Island Region (NIR) along with Negros Oriental. NIR is the 18th and newest region of the Philippines, composed of the highly urbanized city of Bacolod and the provinces of Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental, along with its corresponding outlying islands and islets. The claim in this article, therefore, remains valid since Region VI (a.k.a. Western Visayas) now no longer includes Bacolod, and is composed of five provinces (Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras and Iloilo) and the highly urbanized city (Iloilo City), the regional center.