Ladlad joining House, Senate races; seeks end to hate-slays of LGBTs 18-May-12, 4:03 PM | Marlene Alcaide, TV5 and Pots de Leon, The online news portal of TV5 MANILA, Philippines - (UPDATE: 4:31 PM] With music, some dancing, pink attire and a short program, Ladlad party list, once dubbed by CNN as the only gay political party in the world, signaled its intention to join the 2013 elections for Congress. And, besides throwing its hat into the party-list race, Ladlad is also eyeing a seat in the upper chamber, with no less than its founder and chairman, Prof. Danton Remoto, declaring a plan to run for senator. Ladlad leaders and supporters on Friday filed with the Commission on Elections a formal participation to join the race as a party list. Party members will be seeking again the songressional seats represented by Bemz Benedicto, Atty. Germaine Trittle Leonin and Raymond Alikpala. "Kami ang avengers ng Philippine politics; nagbabalik kami, para magfile ng manifestation of intent to participate ng Ladlad partylist. Dala namin ang listahan ng limang nominado. Legal po kami, makakapagupo kami para ipakita namin sa lahat ang lakas, tapang at talino ng [We are the avengers of Philippine politics. We’re back, we’ve filed a manifestation of intent to participate in the polls. We have our list of nominees. We are legal, and are determined to show the power, strength and courage of the] Filipino gay, lesbian, bisexual, at transgender," Remoto, wearing a pink barong, told reporters Friday. "I didn’t desire this, but many want me to run as senator. Shall we allow recycled losers to run again? I want to give the Filipino voters an intelligent and great choice for 2013 that's why I am filing, and I am announcing my intention to participate and to run for senators in 2013" Remoto added. Ladlad’s party-list agenda Topping their agenda is the anti-discrimination bill to protect lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders from prejudice. At the same time, Ladlad expressed alarm over the rising cases of hate crimes against LGBTs, including several brutal murders. Per its count, 30 LGBTs have been killed on average each year since 2010, all on account of their gender. And, since 1996 till 2012, a total of 163 have been murdered. “One problem in solving crimes against LGBTs is that more often, their loved ones are scared or ashamed to come forward and say they were targeted on account of their gender. Most would rather say their loved ones were robbed, rather than say they were targeted because they were LGBTs,” said Ladlad’s Marlon Lacsamana. It’s not surprising thus that the count of LGBTs being slain keeps rising. Just for 2012 alone, one dozen LGBTs have been killed and it’s not even half of the year. The government should address this patter of hate crimes, added Lacsamana. This is why, Ladlad leaders stressed, the LGBTs deserve a representative in the House of Representatives, where the law allows for party-list slots, “and even in the Senate.” Aside from the anti-discrimination bill and civil union law, the partylist aimed to implement a pro-poor program among gays and those with disabilities. It plans to establish Golden Aged Gay, a home for the aged gays; half-way-homes for gays who were disinherited or rejected by their parents because of their sexual orientation. "Meron po siyang legal, psychological, education and health. Ito po ay more of social development ang sinusulong natin. Sa Saligang Batas po dapat po pantay po lahat," Remoto said. Ateneo Prof. Remoto said several major political parties have been talking to him about this. "I am now finalizing negotiations with political parties, big well-organized political parties who will help me run in 2013,” Remoto added, but stressed he had no plans of running under the Liberal Party, recalling that he and former labor undersecretary Susan “Toots” Ople, were promised slots in the LP ticket in 2010 by LP stalwart Mar Roxas. But when Roxas slid down to vice presidential bet with the passing of former President Corazon Aquino, Remoto and Ople found themselves partyless so close to the elections. The Comelec, this time, is not objecting to Ladlad’s plan to join the Congress race in 2013. In the May 2010 polls, the Comelec had objected to the Ladlad as party-list, but the party won its case in the Supreme Court. Ladlad was accredited a long time ago. What it did today is file a manifestation of intent to participate, meaning they’re one of the party lists from which voters can pick from,” explained Comelec’s James Jimenez. Not pushing same-sex marriage Meanwhile, Ladlad said it was not pushing for same-sex marriage, but only a “civil union partnership.” And Ladlad nominee Bemz Benedito had a message “for the likes of Miriam Quiambao and Manny Pacquiao.” He said LGBTs “are not bad people, they are not products of the devil’s lies and they don’t deserve to die because they are also human

Transgender heads UP student body

March 3, 2012
By Julie M. Aurelio
Philippine Daily Inquirer

Marking a new milestone, students of the premier University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City, elected their first openly transgender chairperson of the university student council (USC).

In elections concluded Thursday night, Heart Diño bested three other candidates, including independent candidate Martin Loon of the UP College of Law and Amancio Melad III of the militant Stand UP coalition.

Born Gabriel Paolo Diño, 22-year-old Heart recently completed a bachelor of science degree in mathematics, magna cum laude, and is currently an MS Applied Mathematics major. She led the Alyansa ticket (Alyansa ng mga Mag-aaral para sa Panlipunang Katwiran at Kaunlaran) and campaigned on a platform of antigender discrimination, transparency and zero fraternity-related violence.

Before winning the top post in the state university council, she was a popular councilor who headed the USC committee on gender and a leader of the UP Babaylan, a group promoting rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender (LGBT) students.

‘Historic moment’

Transgender is an umbrella term for persons whose gender identity and expression does not conform to socially constructed behavior associated with one’s sex at birth.

Danton Remoto, chairman of the national Ang Ladlad party called Diño’s election a “historic moment” and a victory that “opens doors for the LGBT community into the political sphere.”

“We applaud the UP constituency for voting Heart Diño,” he told the Inquirer in an interview.

“The party also lauds the election of Alex Castro, a bisexual woman, as vice chair of the UP Diliman USC,” said Remoto, adding “Ladlad hopes that this is the start of a new diversity that will emerge in mainstream politics.”

Another openly transgender student, film major Pat Bringas, also won a council seat.

Over 11,300 students cast their votes. Diño (Alyansa) got 3,290 votes; Loon (independent) got 2,743; Melad (Stand UP), 2,218; and Shaina Santiago (Kaisa), 1,900.

According to the Philippine Collegian, the official organ of the UP Diliman students, Diño’s party clinched 13 out of 34 seats in the USC, including six councilor seats and six college representatives. The Student Alliance for the Advancement of Democratic Rights in UP (Stand UP) won 10 seats while the Nagkakaisang Iskolar para sa Pamantasan at Sambayanan sa UP (Kaisa) also got 10 seats.

The Collegian said voter turnout for the campus polls was higher this year at 48.91 percent from last year’s 48.5 percent.

Looking back, Diño said she was initially “a bit confused” as how to conduct her campaign—should she be a proper, formal-looking candidate, or be just her usual fun, easygoing self?

‘Just be myself’

“I decided to just be myself. Embrace yourself, because sometimes you don’t have to fit in. Sometimes, you just stand out,” she said, brushing away a lock of her straight shoulder-length hair.

Asked if she thought the country’s premier university was ready for a transgender leader, Heart replied: “Well, we are beginning to be more open.”

At the UP College of Science’s Institute of Mathematics, Diño always identified herself as female. She was often seen wearing jeans and a blouse to class.

But during special programs where she was the emcee, “Heart usually wore a dress,” said college dean Jose Maria P. Balmaceda.

She was always known as Heart. “No one really called (Heart) Gabriel Paolo, you know,” he added.

He recalled “Heart was not the type to draw attention to one’s self and was always quiet in class,” Balmaceda said.

‘Brighter gem’

But she stood out as one of their “brighter gems,” he said.

Things were not always as bright for Heart, who admitted she first had to deal with her family’s reaction to her gender, and that of her high school classmates as well.

She said that as a 5-year-old, she already knew she was “a girl trapped in a boy’s body.”

At Claret School, an adviser called up her parents to inform them about their child.

In the end, acceptance of her transgender nature came. “I tried (being masculine), but it’s not who I am.”

As a transgender adult, going inside restrooms for females can be a test for Heart, who recalled a janitor at a Makati City mall who blocked her path as she was about to enter.

“He told me, ‘you’re not allowed in there, go to the men’s room.’ But I didn’t. So now I avoid going to public restrooms or just use a pay comfort room,” she said.

If a woman raises her eyebrows at her when she uses the female restroom, Heart doesn’t mind because “it is who she is.”

The chair-elect now faces the challenge of holding together different ideologies in the UP student council.

“We have to work together. We must learn how to listen to different points of view,” she said.


Pinoy Parazzi
January 25, 2012

A REVERED name both in the academe and in politics, isa na ring ganap na radio commentator si Danton Remoto via his evening program aptly titled Remoto Control on Radyo Singko 92.3 News FM.

Spicing up the 9:30 p.m. block from Mondays to Fridays, the former English and Literature professor at the Ateneo de Manila University (where he taught for 22 years) promises na ang naturang programa “ay para sa mga misis na nag-aabang sa asawang pauwi ng bahay, o sa mga sekyong nakatalaga sa building, o sa mga yaya na nagpaplantsa ng damit ng kanilang mga amo, o sa mga karaniwang Pinoy na uhaw sa mga napapanahong impormasyon sa ating kapaligiran.”

Within Danton’s program are segments like Sulyap sa Nakaraan, Kalabit sa Balita (a fearless, no-holds-barred editorial), Super Sounds, a portion dedicated to the Pinoys who have excelled in their fields of endeavour and a compilation of ages-old Filipino legends and myths.

Currently the News5 Research head and host of Tayuan Mo at Panindigan, sa mundo ng kabadingan ay si Danton lang naman ang malakas na puwersa sa likod ng Ladlad Party List na nagtataguyod sa mga karapatan ng LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) kung saan ang official spokesperson nito is also a revered name in all facets of the entertainment/political spectrum (TV hosting, artist management, consultancy, public relations, events management, ooohhh, name it!), walang iba kundi si Boy Abunda.

May radio program na

from Tempo newspaper
January 29, 2012

May radio program na si Danton Remoto, isa sa mga nirerespetong pangalan sa akademiya at pulitika. Si Danton ang head ng NEWS5 Research at host ng talk show na “Tayuan Mo At Panindigan” sa all-news channel na “Aksyon TV” ng TV5.

Mapapakinggan si Remoto sa “ Remoto Control" sa Radyo Singko, 92.3 News FM, 9:30 to 10:15 pm pagkatapos ng “Sakto kay Paolo at Cherie” nina Paolo Bediones at Cherie Mercado. Hitik sa impormasyon ang radio program ni Danton para sa mga misis,yaya, security guards, sa mga gustong mag- OFW’s at mga taong gustong matuto sa pamamagitan ng non-formal education. May usapan din tungkol sa kasaysayan ng Pilipinas, alamat, myth at iba pang urban legend ng mga Pinoy, komentaryo sa maiinit na isyu sa bansa, atbpa.

Nagturo rin si Danton ng English at Literature for 22 years sa Ateneo University. Siya ang nagtatag ng Ladlad Party List na tumataguyod sa mga karapatan ng lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT).

PH gets barely passing score in media assessment

PH gets barely passing score in media assessment
13-Dec-11, 3:54 PM | Nonoy Espina,

The Philippine assessment, presented to journalists and journalism schools on Tuesday, is the fourth undertaken under the Asian Media Barometer, a project by Friedrich Eibert Stiftung and partners in participating countries that involves a series of “self-assessment exercise(s) based on criteria derived from international standards of media freedom.”

The first three countries to undertake the assessment are India and Pakistan -- both in 2009 -- and Thailand last year.

The 104-page Philippine report is the result of a two-day panel discussion in early October in Tagaytay to which 10 experts -- five each from media and civil society -- were invited to assess the media situation in the country based on 45 predetermined indicators, in turn clustered into four sectors, that they were asked to grade anonymously on a scale of 1 to 5, with five being the best possible score.

Overall, the Philippines got what Malou Mangahas, executive director of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, the FES’s project partner, called the “barely passing score” of 2.6, which was the average of the sector scores that follow:

1) Freedom of expression, including freedom of the media, is effectively protected and promoted -- 3.7

2) The media landscape, including new media, is characterized by diversity, independence, and sustainability -- 2.8

3) Broadcasting regulation is transparent and independent; the state broadcaster is transformed into a truly public broadcaster -- 1.3

4) The media practice high levels of professional standards -- 2.6

The report said that “the media landscape in the Philippines is characterized by diversity, freedom, an active stock of journalists and citizens, and an executive and legislature slow on media reforms.”

The report noted that media ownership in the country “remains largely under the control of interest groups vested with both economic and political interests,” a situation worsened by the lack of anti-trust legislation pertaining to media and “a growing and worrying tendency of politicians acquiring stakes in (local) media outlets,” particularly community radio, which “usually serve on communities of interests and not small geographical communities.”

Despite this, “the media (themselves) do hardly any explicatory or analytical reporting on these trends and the emerging media monopolies.”

The report also noted that although reporters and editors “zealously guard and assert their freedom and resist all attempts by state authorities to restrict their trade … self-regulation by professional and industry associations has always lacked vigor and constancy.”

Melinda Quintos-De Jesus of the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, one of the participants in the October panel discussion, noted reluctance among media owners and managements “to discuss how ratings and revenues impact on content.”

“Indeed, self-criticism of media by media remains scant and thus ineffectual, even as competition for sales, revenues, and audience share drives most editorial decisions of most gatekeepers,” the report said.

It also said conditions within the media industry have led to “a subculture of corruption where some journalists take bribes to perform their professional function.”

Among these problems, the report said, are low salaries and the lack of skills and training; the “deteriorating quality of graduates coming out of journalism schools;” the fact that television anchors “make more money than their education warrants” but small community newspapers “can’t pay living wages for their reporters of correspondents:” and “poor unionization” of the media workforce that “leaves journalists in small cities and rural areas exposed to the whims of the publishers.”

Rowena Paraan, secretary general of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, said the economic welfare of journalists and the ownership patterns in media “are very important” because of their “implications not just on welfare but on press freedom and the free flow of information.”

News 5 head of research Danton Remoto, who also participated in the October exercise, said the media are often at a disadvantage in the hiring of the best new talents because of the higher compensation invariably offered by public relations firms or even call centers.

The report also noted that “not all the voices of ethnic, religious, and social groups are reflected fairly in the media coverage.”

De Jesus stressed the need for “the little opinions, the small communities (to) be given equal hearing as Malacanang.”

And while parity in gender has been achieved in newsrooms, the “fair representation of women’s voices” is still sorely lacking.

As for government, the report said it has made no effort “to help increase the regional distribution of newspapers nor is there a coordinated strategy with the aim of supporting a diverse media landscape.” It cited the downgrading of the Commission on Information and Communications Technology to a mere bureau of the Department of Science and Technology despite the growing prominence of new media.

While acknowledging that President Benigno Aquino III has not been accused of using his power over advertising placements -- as some of his predecessors have done -- to influence reportage, “he has also told advertisers that they should support only ‘responsible media organizations.'”

It also noted that, because journalists operate “in a culture of impunity and in one of the most dangerous countries” to practice the profession, the Philippine media also “reflect the constraints of fear and a growing concentration of ownership in their journalistic practice.”

“Within this context, the courage of many journalists is as remarkable as the lack of self-criticism of the media remains deplorable,” it added.

The Asian Media Barometer, adapted from the African Media Barometer first undertaken in 2005, stemmed from the lack of a regional charter on freedom of expression for the region and is supposed to be a tool to lobby for media reforms.

The organizers aim to update the barometer every two to three years because, as Mangahas said, “this is an ever changing picture.”