Isko Moreno paints rainbow pedestrian lanes for LGBTQ but some aren’t happy

October 28, 2019 - 1:32 PM
Ped xing in Manila
Manileños walk on the newly-painted "LGBT-friendly" pedestrian crossing along Arroceros corner Natividad Streets (Photo from Manila Public Information Office/Christian Turingan)

The rainbow-colored pedestrian lanes launched by Manila City Mayor Isko Moreno drew some criticisms from the online community who argued that the city could have pursued more “concrete” actions toward protecting members of the LGBTQ community from discrimination.

The colorful pedestrian lanes are located at the corner of Arroceros and Natividad streets, an intersection that leads to the Liwasang Bonifacio and a mall.

Moreno earlier vowed that the Manila City government will support the LGBTQ community through its policies.

“Pinangako ko sa LGBTQ society that we just want to show you in our own little way how sensitive we are with your plight,” he said in a Facebook live video, as quoted by reports.

“We want to make you feel that you are part of the society with regard to the policy of the city government of Manila. Excited po ako para sa inyo,” Moreno added.

The local chief executive said he is planning to put more rainbow-colored pedestrian lanes in Manila.

Some Filipinos on social media, however, said he should work on crafting more “concrete actions” against discrimination instead of focusing on aesthetics.

A Twitter user pointed out that an “actual anti-discrimination ordinance” would be “better” than rainbow-painted pedestrian lanes.

An LGBTQ member added that she would appreciate it if Moreno would enforce an anti-discrimination ordinance in the city to protect LGBTQ rights in schools and workplaces.

“‘Di namin kailangan ng rainbow pedestrian lane. Ang kailangan namin ay ma-recognize ang aming mga karapatang pantao sa lipunang ito,” she said in another tweet.

Manila is not the first city to have shown its support on the LGBTQ community through rainbow-colored pedestrian lanes.

Quezon City, one of the first cities in the metro to actually establish a gender-fair ordinance, painted its pedestrian lanes in the color of the community’s symbolic colors last year to celebrate Pride Month.

A few months ago, a municipality in Eastern Samar also had its pedestrian lane along a national highway painted in rainbow colors through the initiative of San Julian Pride Advocacy Group.

In 2015, Mandaue City launched what was considered the first rainbow-colored pedestrian lane in Barangay Subangdako in support of the LGBTQ community.

Beyond aesthetics

While Manila does not have any anti-discrimination ordinance on the LGBTQ community yet, its city chief promised the capital city will have its own Pride March and Festival in 2020.

In a report by Manila Bulletin’s MB Life last June, Moreno said he wanted the celebration to “pick up” from how foreign cities such as San Francisco, New York and Amsterdam commemorate it.

The mentioned cities celebrate Pride Month through colorful parades and street and dance parties, among others.

Moreno also said that he wanted more LGBTQ members to be part of Manila’s city government.

“Some [members of the LGBTQ community], at the very least, are going to be part of the city government of Manila. They will be part of policy-making, governance, and so on,” he said.

Moreno in a more recent interview also urged Congress to pass the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression equality bill that seeks to criminalize discrimination against LGBTQ members.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros, the principal author of the bill, argued it is the “best policy tool” to acknowledge their rights and offer protection against gender-based harassment and violence.

However, some lawmakers are still reluctant about its passage as they sought clarification of what acts constitute “discriminatory practices.”