DOT positions PHL as one of Asia’s most LGBT-friendly destinations

Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco unveiled the Marcos Administration’s plans and programs aimed at inclusive tourism development under the Marcos administration, including positioning the Philippines as one of Asia’s most LGBTQIA+ friendly destinations. This includes the mounting of the first-ever Tourism Pride Summit this September.

Secretary Frasco made the announcement during her Keynote Address at the Philippine Financial & Inter-Industry (PFIP) Pride Summit 2023, where she noted the massive opportunities for the development of LGBTQIA+ tourism in the Philippines, with the community being one of the fast-rising sectors of society across the globe, with over 35 million travelers from this sector.

Last month, the Tourism Chief welcomed a courtesy visit from the executives of the PFIP for its partnership with the DOT on the Tourism Pride Summit in time for tourism month.

In addition to hosting the Tourism Pride Summit with the PFIP, the DOT, with Secretary Frasco at its helm, has identified the LGBTQIA+ tourism-related as a priority under the Office of Special Concerns of the Office of the Secretary.

The Department also sees to it that employees receive training on relevant topics including Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Sex Characteristics (SOGIESC) awareness and the basics of Gender and Development (GAD).

”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. 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,” Secretary Frasco enthused.

The DOT Chief 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 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,” Secretary Frasco shared.

Directly addressing this observation, Secretary Frasco organized and federated the Liloan LGBTQ, making it the first Municipality in Cebu to have a fully federated LGBT federation in all barangays.

“The consequence of that recognition from the local government unit was that we ensured that the LGBT community had a voice, not only in terms of fighting for their rights or equality as far as the passage of laws and ordinances protecting them from discrimination, but rather, also a voice in governance,” Secretary Frasco shared.

As Liloan Mayor, Frasco also actively pursued programs and initiatives in support of the community, including the construction of a gender-equal comfort room at the Municipal Plaza. Each of the municipality’s council and committee also has an LGBT representative, Secretary Frasco shared.

“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. 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 enthused.

Echoing the President’s recent pronouncements during his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) on the Filipino people’s demonstration of their love of country, Secretary Frasco said that “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 enthused.

In further supporting the LGBTQIA+ community, Secretary Frasco during the summit also pledged a personal donation from herself and her husband House Deputy Speaker Duke Frasco amounting to PhP 500,000 to support the PFIP’s educational scholarships for underprivileged students that are members of the community.

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