The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Region V in partnership with Bicol University (BU) and University of Nueva Caceres (UNC) held an International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) 2021, the first-ever friendly Inter-School Debate Competition on SOGIE Equality Bill through the BU Extension Management Division (EMD) Facebook page via Zoom teleconferencing on May 17, 2021.
This amicable debate held a significant dialogue about sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression (SOGIE) bill involving the LGBTQIA+ community in order to reform backward views and remove the harmful societal impression.
Participants were students from BU College of Social Sciences and Philosophy (CSSP) and UNC College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) as witnessed by CHR, BU, and UNC administration.
“Annually, we celebrate this day to make known the alarming situation faced by people with diverse SOGIE. We must do away with the culture of homophobia and transphobia. In this modern time, there are still people who reject the idea that the LGBTQIA+ have the same right as we have,” CHR Director Atty. Arlene Alangco said in her welcome speech.
Meanwhile, BUCSSP Dean Atty. Alex B. Nepomuceno addressed the significance of the debate.
“All these intellectual exercise shall be done in a balanced and friendly as well as respectful manner as an academic forum for a truly free in the legible discussion and a scholarly platform to develop, acquire, and demonstrate knowledge, skills, and values that would sum up debate competencies that are not only desirable but sinequanon in the progressive and inclusive development of a civilized society,” he said.
UNC CAS Dean Kenjie E. Jimenea, on the other hand, presented a statement expressing his gratitude for the university’s participation in the significant activity as well as his support for the debate’s relevance.
Following that, Slyvia Angelique S. Umbac, Chief of the Human Rights Education and Promotion Office’s Advocacy Campaign Division, discussed the event’s background and rationale. Atty. Desiree G. De Vera, Atty. Carlo M. Camposano, and Asst. Prosecutor Antonette B. Bance made up the judging panel.
“This house believes that the Philippine LGBTQIA+ community should establish a single issue political party to secure the passage of the SOGIE Law as opposed to lobbying through Philippine mainstream parties,” was the topic of the debate.
BU was represented by James Oren Licup, Sydney Joseph Torrenueva, and Alfren Anthony Yango against UNC representatives Krislen Gaile Bismonte, Neil Andrew Formalejo, and Cyen Escalanda. Moreover, Torrenueva, the Deputy Prime Minister, was awarded as Best Speaker of the competition.
A monetary reward of P15,000 was also awarded to the BU student debaters. UNC, on the other hand, won a P10,000 consolation award.
The virtual debating tournament was facilitated by Ronald Fajardo Jr. and Trisha Kayle Frivaldo.