Touched by the rainbow.
An executive order was passed in Itogon, a first class municipality in the province of Benguet in northern Luzon in the Philippines, declaring the ninth of March of every year as LGBT Day.
Executive Order No. 03, signed by Atty. Victorio T. Palangdan in April, noted that “section 3 of Republic Act 9710 state that ‘All individuals are equal as human beings by virtue of the inherent dignity of each person. No one should therefore suffer discrimination on the basis of ethnicity, gender, age, language, sexual orientation, race, color, religion, political or other opinion, national or social or geographical origin, disability, birth or other status as established by human rights standards.”
Under the EO, activities are being eyed to be held for the local LGBT community, including – and going beyond the one-day Pride parade – “knowledge sharing or technology transfer on good grooming, personal hygiene, beauty care, interior design, floral arrangements, et cetera, such that the knowledge and skills derived therefrom could be transformed into livelihood or income generating activities by the participants.”
The aforementioned professions/fields are – nonetheless – still stereotypically linked with the LGBTQIA community, at times limiting professional opportunities.
The EO also enjoins barangay officials to actively support the programs and activities of the LGBT community particularly in celebration of the LGBT Day.
The Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office is tasked to monitor and evaluate the success/failure of the EO.
Founded in 1951, and is the largest municipality in Benguet by land area, Itogon is a mining town with a population of approximately 59,820 people occupying a total land area of 449.73 square kilometers (173.64 square miles).