Thousands Gather in Marikina for Pride March

PIO Department


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Thousands of people, including officers and staff of some of the biggest global firms and embassies in Manila, gathered in Marikina City on Saturday to celebrate this year’s Pride March.

The event was hosted for the second time in a row by the City Government of Marikina under the leadership of Mayor Marcy Teodoro.

It was the 24th edition of the Metro Manila Pride March that began in 1994 and the second time that Marikina under Mayor's Marcy's term hosted the event.

Last year, the march and festival -- organized and participated in mostly by the LGBTQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual) community, their allies and supporters -- was held for the first time in Marikina City, now referred to as the "City of Pride."

At yesterday's event, an estimated 25,000 people joined the march and the festivities, more than three times bigger than last year's 7,700, according to the organizers.

Among the firms that joined the event was TeleTech Pilipinas, a business process outsourcing company that employs around 20,000 in the Philippines. TeleTech set up a booth inside Marikina Sports Center, adorned by colorful balloons and banners, and manned by employees who were just too happy to answer questions about the firm, which was also on a hiring mode.

“This is the first time that we are joining the Metro Manila Pride,” said Pol Benliro, Asia-Pacific engagement lead at TeleTech. Right now, we have an estimated 1,200 employees joining the March.”

The other global financial firms and companies at the Pride March were AIG, ING, IBM, Thomson Reuters, Lazada, HSBC, as well as local food chain Adobo Connection, which showed an inspiring and touching short video presentation about its gay employees and how they were encouraged to prosper in the company, supported by their families.

Like Adobo Connection, TeleTech also respects and treasures its gay staff.

“That’s the one we want to break, the stigma of being gay and joining the parade and working for a multinational company such as Tele Tech. We want to break that. We want to show the Filipino workforce that they have a safe place that they can join, work and thrive as an employee,” said Pol in an interview while some employees of TeleTech were on the stage performing Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" hit.

“So we value acting as one, living life passionately. Those are some of the values that Tele Tech have and can share with the LGBT community,” he added. "We are openly hiring if anyone is interested to join TeleTech, you are all welcome."

Meanwhile, leaders and representatives of various LGBTQIA groups such as the LAGABLAB Network called for the passage of an anti-discrimination or the SOGIE Equality bill that would ensure that gays are not discriminated in schools, communities, places of work, and even at home with their families. The bill has hurdled the House and is now pending at the Senate.

"Kung tutuusin, nakakalungkot na kailangan pa nating magmakaawa para sa basic human rights. Pero alam ninyo, we demand these things because we deserve them. We are not asking for special rights. Ang hindi ma-discriminate dahil sa ating kasarian ay basic human right," said Vince Liban of LAGABLAB.

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