LEGAZPI CITY – At least 250 lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual (LGBTQIA+) members from Virac town in Catanduanes received on Wednesday the first-ever financial assistance from the provincial government.
Nikko Templonuevo, provincial information officer, in an interview said the assistance is part of the celebration of Pride Month and as a statement that the LGBTQ+ community in Catanduanes is a recognized member of the society.
"Each member received PHP2,000 cash assistance," Templonuevo said.
When asked if the towns of the province would give a similar assistance, he said, "Wala pa po, for now as a start don muna po. Wala pong timeline as to when yung ibang munisipyo. Depende po siguro sa availability of funds (Not yet, for now as a start. There's no timeline yet as to the other municipalities. Maybe, it will depend on the availability of funds)," he said in a text message.
During the distribution of the cash aid, Governor Joseph Cua delivered his message and expressed his support and appreciation for the community.
He said the activity marks the start of a more inclusive annual celebration of Pride Month in the whole province.
"The journey might be long. We opted to start now. And today, we welcome your beloved community here in the Provincial Government of Catanduanes,” Cua said.
Marie Grace Molina, DOST-Catanduanes director who is a member of LGBTQIA+ community, said in a separate interview, they are very happy over the initiative of the provincial government.
"Nawa’y sa pamamagitan ng mga hakbang na ito na pinangunahan ng provincial local government ay unti-unting mabigyan ng boses ang LGBTQIA+dito sa isla, upang mabigyang tugon din ang aming mga pangangailan lalo na ang pantay na pagkilala sa karapatan laban sa anumang klase ng diskriminasyon. (We hope that through this initiative of the provincial local government, the LGBTQIA+ in the island province would be given a voice, provided their needs, and their rights recognized against any form of discrimination), Molina added.
Meanwhile, the provincial government of Catanduanes gave a PHP1-million donation to the province of Sorsogon, which was affected by the eruption of Mount Bulusan.
Cua said this is the province's opportunity to give back to Sorsogon, which helped Catanduanes after Typhoon Rolly's onslaught in 2020. (PNA)