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PLDT, Smart push for better LGBTQIA+ allyship at Pride talk

Titled “Pride & Connection: Fostering Stronger Bonds with Family and Friends,” the forum featured as guest speakers University of the Philippines Associate Professor Julienne Thesa Baldo-Cubelo and PLDT and Smart employees Kristine Lorraine Varilla and Cliff Adora.

As part of the PLDT Group’s Pride Month celebrations, hundreds of employees recently gathered in a hybrid event to discuss how to forge and strengthen meaningful ties among LGBTQIA+ individuals and their allies, families, and friends.

Titled “Pride & Connection: Fostering Stronger Bonds with Family and Friends,” the forum featured as guest speakers University of the Philippines Associate Professor Julienne Thesa Baldo-Cubelo and PLDT and Smart employees Kristine Lorraine Varilla and Cliff Adora.

“As we celebrate Pride Month this June, let us embrace and celebrate diversity and inclusion in our workplace. The strength of PLDT and Smart lies in the people—your unique backgrounds, perspectives and experiences drive our success,” said PLDT and Smart Chairman and CEO Manuel V. Pangilinan.

“At PLDT, inclusivity is at the core of everything we do. We embrace everyone’s individuality, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, preference or any other circumstances. Our mission here is to ensure that every individual is treated with respect and dignity,” said Maye Rubio, Vice President and Program Management Head for Org Planning and Optimization at PLDT.

Cubelo’s talk focused on “Crossing the Shaky Bridge from Fear to Love”, which is geared toward creating relationships “with those who do not understand (and those whom) we do not understand.”

Highlighting the importance of communication and empathy in building and maintaining connections, Cubelo shared tips on how to have better conversations and how to find points of similarity amidst differences to cultivate a more compassionate view of the other person.  

Sharing their personal stories, Adora of People Group and Varilla of PLDT Home recounted their experiences coming out to their own family members and the challenges they encountered on the way to acceptance. Adora also shared his experiences in the workplace as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community working in various companies and how he was able to bring his full self to work.

The speakers also engaged in a Q&A session with the audience, many of whom wanted tips on how to improve their allyship to friends and family members.

This Pride talk is part of PLDT’s group-wide campaign “Every Color, Every You” for Pride Month. PLDT and Smart’s initiatives for inclusivity and workplace gender equality underscore their commitment to help the Philippines attain the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) on SDG 5: Gender Equality and SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth.

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