The Department of Tourism (DOT) is set to mount the first-ever Tourism Pride Summit this September as part of its efforts to help position the Philippines as “one of Asia’s most LGBTQIA+ friendly destinations”.
Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco made the announcement during her keynote address at the Philippine Financial & Inter-Industry (PFIP) Pride Summit 2023 on Thursday, where she cites the opportunities in attracting travelers from the LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer/Questioning, Asexual plus) community.
”We at the Department of Tourism take pride in having a multitude of numbers from your community across the tourism value chain in all of the regions of the Philippines–from our personnel and, accommodation and services sector, from the frontline, managerial, supervisory, and upper echelons of the tourism industry, and even including our frontline tourism personnel in our local government units, from our pasalubong makers, to our choreographers, our artistic directors, costume makers, festival dancers, our various members of the Department of Tourism regional offices that are also members of the community,” Frasco said.
“You are very well represented in the Department of Tourism and in the industry itself and your contribution to the success of tourism is invaluable,” she added.
Frasco expressed her elation as she joined the organization in celebrating “love, and the gains that the PFIP has made in its ten-year existence” and prefaced her message by sharing her experiences as the former Mayor of Liloan in Cebu.
“At that time when I was involved in advocacies concerning various sectors, from women, children, senior citizens, PWDs (persons with disabilities) and the like, I observed that while all of the other sectors of society in our community in Liloan had been organized in and federated and had a voice in local governance, the LGBT community did not have such a voice,” she said.
Frasco back then organized and federated the Liloan LGBTQ, making it the first town in Cebu to have a fully federated LGBT federation in all barangays.
She had also actively pursued programs and initiatives in support of the community, including the construction of a gender-equal comfort room at the municipal plaza.
“I share with you this story, if only to give you my assurances that the work that you have been doing for the past 10 years has resulted in the grass roots recognition and implementation of the necessity for LGBTQ+ equality, equity, and recognition,” she said.
“It is not a mere aspiration that we must look to but, rather, it is happening, it is succeeding, and I congratulate and thank all of you–especially the PFIP–for your relentless support for this movement,” she added.
Echoing President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s recent pronouncements during his second State of the Nation Address, Frasco said: “This love of country, pride of place, pride of community, I see very well in the PFIP, your Board of Trustees, your officers, your members, your delegates who are present here today, for indeed expressing love for one another, is also an expression of love for our country.”
“And so, you have my full unequivocal support, and I am very eager to partner with PFIP and with all of you, to ensure that we accomplish our goal of making the Philippines one of the most [LGBT-friendly] places in Asia, and I am sincerely hopeful for your support for our effort to give our fellow Filipinos and the rest of the world all the reasons to love the Philippines,” she added.
Frasco during the summit also pledged her personal donation and her husband House Deputy Speaker Duke Frasco, amounting to PHP500,000 to support the PFIP’s educational scholarships for underprivileged students that are members of the community. (PNA)