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First transgender barangay chair elected in Sampaloc

Ghio Ong - The Philippine Star
First transgender barangay chair elected in Sampaloc
Marvin “Ella” Santiago

MANILA, Philippines — The Manila city council praised the election of a transgender woman as barangay chairperson, a first in the city.

Marvin “Ella” Santiago won as chairperson of Barangay 410 Zone 42 in Sampaloc during the Oct. 30 village and youth council elections.

“(My victory) mirrors the open-mindedness of Manileños as they go beyond the stereotypical way of thinking that (members of the) LGBT (community) are not fit to lead a barangay,” Santiago said during a city council session on Nov. 16.

Manila District 4 Councilor Joel Villanueva, author of the “Manila LGBTQI Protection Ordinance of 2020,” filed a resolution congratulating Santiago.

Villanueva’s fellow councilor, Don Juan Bagatsing, said Santiago “used her own money to fix the sewerage and the septic tank in a basketball court” when Santiago was a barangay kagawad or councilor.

“She is a good person at heart and I think she will be a great public servant for Sampaloc,” Bagatsing said.

In a Facebook post, Santiago thanked the city council and said that the election was a “humbling and overwhelming experience.”

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