Quezon City Pride Festival successful despite rain

Janvic Mateo - The Philippine Star
Quezon City Pride Festival successful despite rain
QC PRIDE PARADE: Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte is joined by ambassadors and representatives of Australia, Belgium, Canada, Colombia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, United Kingdom and the United States as well as co-chairs of the Equal Rights Coalition led by Germany and Mexico during the Pride Festival at the Quezon Memorial Circle on Saturday.
Miguel De Guzman

MANILA, Philippines — Despite being cut short due to heavy rain, organizers deemed this year’s Pride Festival in Quezon City a success as more than  200,000 people joined the annual event on Saturday.

Pride PH and the Quezon City government co-organized the “Love Laban 2 Everyone” festival to celebrate the LGBTQ community.

The program ended early as heavy rain compromised the electrical and sound systems set up at the Quezon Memorial Circle.

“We are proud of our community, along with the many allies who have joined us because we have our good behavior and also our resolve,” the organizers said in a joint statement.

“We will need more of this show of force and love letter to national leaders in the crucial six months as we will need the strength and support of everyone to push for the SOGIE Equality Bill and to attain our dream of having a society where there is love and equality,” they added.

The festival started at 3:30 p.m. and ended at around 8 p.m.

Filipino pop girl group BINI and other headliners could not perform.

“As much as we were looking forward to perform in tonight’s #LoveLaban2Everyone, we support the decision of the organizers to cancel the event for everyone’s safety,” BINI said in a statement.

“Let’s continue to stand for equality and celebrate love in all forms,” they added.

Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte said the festival was a huge success, with 212,000 attendees surpassing the original target of 150,000 to 200,000.

“We are overwhelmed by the show of support for the entire day’s events at all three of our sites – the Quezon Memorial Circle, Matalino Street and the City Hall grounds,” she said.

“Even the diplomatic corps, represented by at least 20 ambassadors and their delegations, as well as high-ranking officials from the United Nations, came to deliver solidarity speeches and join the Pride March,” she added.

Belmonte expressed hope that Congress will pass the “anti-discrimination measure that has been pending in their chambers for years.”

A local government employee told The STAR that this year’s attendees doubled from the previous year.

The Quezon City Police District said the festival was generally peaceful.

Rainbow graduates

The Quezon City government also organized on Saturday special graduation rites attended by 394 members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community.

Students who were prohibited from joining their school’s graduation rites due to their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression attended the ceremony.

“Hopefully in the future, we will no longer need to hold such a ceremony because all schools will be inclusive,” Belmonte said.

She called on school administrators to implement the Department of Education’s policies protecting students from “gender-related violence, abuse, exploitation, discrimination and bullying.”

Television host KaladKaren served as keynote speaker of the event.

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