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Ligo Sardines expresses support to LGBTQIA community; moves to go beyond PR

While Ligo Sardines’ efforts – particularly the social media promotion – may be called out as co-opting the rainbow, the company said that they just really wanted the LGBTQIA community to know “that we see you, we hear you, and we love you.”

For the first time, media-savvy Ligo Sardines – the company that has been regularly churning witty online ads while Philippines was in Covid-19 lockdown – has “made efforts to support the (LGBTQIA) community.”

In a Twitter post, the company – which is brandishing the rainbow flag in its profile – stated: “United by love, we can overcome any challenges our country faces. Love can achieve so much if we allow it to, but it must start with each and everyone of us. To our fellow kababayans and everyone else around the world, we are here for you and we love you.”

Interviewed by Outrage Magazine via Twitter, Michael Tung, VP for advertising of Ligo Sardines, said that “ever since I started working in Ligo two years ago, it was always a goal of mine to support the community in some capacity as I’ve always been a strong supporter of theirs and what they stand for.”

The company actually “had bigger plans set for this initially, unfortunately the pandemic started (before) we could push through with our plans.”

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But at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the company donated about 10 to 15 cases of Ligo products to the Home for the Golden Gays in Pasay City, after Tung’s sister-in-law noted that they were greatly affected by Covid-19. “Some of the people there were jobless and food supplies were running low. So we donated as fast as we could.”

As a company, Tung said that Ligo Sardines has also been supportive of its LGBTQIA staff.

“We have quite a number of (LGBTQIA) employees who have been with us for years. We take pride that we don’t discriminate, so should anyone from the (LGBTQIA) community want to apply, they’re welcome to do so. We treat all our employees here as family, given the fact that this business has been a family owned business for over 65 years,”

Also, “as far as policies go, yes we do have same-sex benefits. And as far as I’m aware, this has always been the case.”

While Ligo Sardines’ efforts – particularly the social media promotion – may be called out as co-opting the rainbow, Tung said that “to clarify, I never showed support for the (LGBTQIA) community for profit, I just really wanted the community to know that we see you, we hear you, and we love you. Because that’s what Ligo has always been about: Love. We just wanted everyone to know that we love every one – in it’s rawest and purest form.”

Asked if Ligo Sardines has future plans in helping the LGBT community re: pushing for anti-discrimination bill/law in the Philippines; pushing for marriage equality in the Philippines; and pushing for gender recognition law in the Philippines, among others, Tung said: “First and foremost, it is important for people to remember that Ligo is in the food manufacturing business. So while I do believe and support the things… mentioned, there is a right way with doing it wherein it makes sense for the company. In my case, as head of advertising, it’s about finding the right message and execution in your ad where people can learn more about the (LGBTQIA) rights, marriage equality, and gender recognition, and hope that one day, it’ll help the Philippines come one step closer to a better tomorrow.”

In the end, “As a business, if you have a platform to educate and inform your followers, do so. We’re a long way from an ideal world, but I believe it must always start with having a conversation. So don’t take your platform and followers for granted, use it to better the world,” Tung ended.

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