By Rjhay E. Laurea
MANILA — Policies and programs that can uplift the lives of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, queers, intersex’s, and asexuals (LGBTQIA) can only be possible if the above-mentioned sectors themselves will organize and have the courage to fight for their rights and gender equality.
This is the message of Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte as she encourages all Quezon City-based LGBTQIA+ organizations to apply for accreditation to the city government and be a part of the newly-established People’s Council of QC (PCQC) and the QC Pride Council (QCPC).
“Ang tingin ko talaga sa governance is the people plus the government working together [My vision of governance is the people plus the government working together],” Belmonte pointed out saying that the LGBTQIA+ organizations can help a lot in guiding the city government in the execution of proper projects and programs that will benefit the sector.
Mayor Belmonte believes the newly-established PCQC can be an avenue to lobby for pro-LGBTQIA+ policies and programs that the city must implement.
“Alam niyo ‘yung QC government naglunsad ng QC People’s Council. Ito ay pangalawa lang ang ating lungsod sa Naga City. Kung saan hinihikayat talaga ang lahat ng sektor na maging bahagi ng policy-making [You know, the QC government launched the QC People’s Council. Our city is next to Naga City who was the first to have one of these where we encourage all sectors to participate in policy-making],” Belmonte said.
“And one of the sectors na gusto namin talagang hikayatin na mag-organisa at magpa-accredit sa ating lungsod para puwede po silang maging bahagi ng iba’t ibang councils and policy-making bodies sa Lungsod Quezon ay ang LGBTQIA+ sector [And one of the sectors that we encourage to organize and apply for accreditation to the city government, so they will be able to participate in different councils and policy-making bodies, is the LGBTQIA+ sector],” she added.
For his part, PCQC Interim Chairman Brian Lu hopes that the next PCQC officers, who will be elected later this year, will attend to the needs of the LGBTQIA+ community.
“We thank the honorable Mayor (Belmonte) for recognizing the importance of PCQC in pushing for reforms on gender-based equality in the City. We hope that the next batch of sector representatives under PCQC will continue what the current administration has started in terms of serving the LGBTQIA+ community which is part of the 21 sectors represented in PCQC,” Lu said.
The PCQC was created this year by virtue of SP-1942, S. 2009 or The Participation, Accountability and Transparency (PAT) Ordinance that institutionalized the people participation provision stated in the Local Government Code.
Accredited civil society organizations (CSOs) are automatically part of the PCQC. The accreditation authority is the City Council and the Barangay and Community Relations Department (BCRD) serves as the secretariat.
For the 2019-2022 term, there are 2,232 accredited CSOs. Thirteen (13) of them belong to the LGBTQIA+ sector.
Renewal and new application for accreditation for CSOs will be announced soon because the effectiveness of the accreditation is co-terminus with the term of office of the city mayor.
Another council that caters the needs of LGBTQIA+ sector is the QC Pride Council which was formed in 2013 for the purpose of enforcing LGBTQIA+ rights and gender-based policies and programs for LGBTQIA+ individuals in Quezon City. (ai/mtvn)