SILaB helps LGBTQs in Bay, Laguna amidst pandemic
The Samahan ng Ikatlong Lahi ng Bay (SILaB), a local organization of the LGBTQ Community in the town of Bay, reached out to their fellow LGBTQs affected by the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) amidst the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Limited resources and funds did not stop SILaB members to help out over 400 LGBTQs in this town by providing each of them with food packs.
“Naglunsad po kami ng isang Donation Drive na tinawag naming ‘Malasakit Challenge – Tulong para sa Sektor ng LGBTQ.’ Sa unang pagkakataon, maliit mang bahagi ang tulong na ating naipaabot ay naramdaman nila na may nagmamalasakit sa kanila,” ibinahagi ni Raymond Christopher Paran, SILaB President and a teacher under the Department of Education (DEpEd).
(We launched a Donation Drive we called ‘Malasakit Challenge – Help for the LQBTQ Sector.’ Initially, though the help we were able to extend to them was small at least they felt that somebody cares for them.)
He said he was informed that some of their fellow-LGBTQ working in another province was forced to come back to the town of Bay by foot because they lost their job and had no other means to transport when the ECQ was declared.
This particular instance has brought awareness about the difficult situation of their members due to the crisis, which prompted them to start a donation drive.
Paran said they started off with no fund at all but took to social media, particularly facebook, their appeal for contributions initially from friends who immediately heed their call.
“May mga nagbigay ng goods tulad ng bigas, cannned goods, at ng cash na binili natin ng iba pang kailangan para mabuo ang kailangang relief packs na 400.”
(Some shelled out goods like rice and canned goods, and some shared cash we used to purchase items for the 400 relief packs.)
Most of the people who responded to their appeal for donations are Paran’s workmates at DepEd.
Fortunately, help eventually poured out from private individuals and elected officials who generously provided whatever they could share to reach out to the community.
According to him, Bay Vice Mayor Emerson Ilagan and individual donors and sponsors took on the Malasakit Challenge for the first and second wave of their donation drive.
While, Laguna 2nd District Representative Ruth Mariano-Hernandez and the Jollibee Group Foundation provided relief items that shall be distributed for the third up to fifth wave of the donation actvity set within this month.
Even Paran unselfishly gave out his one-month salary to complete the 400 packs of relief for the first wave of their cause.
With the overflowing sense of “Bayanihan” and coherent efforts among Bayenos and non-Bayenos, the recipients of the Malasakit Challenge are more than grateful.
Ricca Joy Buendia, a SILaB member resident of Brgy. Tagumpay, expressed gratitude over benefitting from the donation drive.
Buendia is one of the LGBTQs who lost their job and walked from Batangas province back to the town of Bay due to the lockdown.
“Ang masasabi ko po sa LGBT ng BAY o SILaB kung tawagin. Maraming salamat po sa relief na natanggap ko. Ito po ay isang malaking tulong sa gaya kung naglakad mula San Juan, Batangas to Bay, Laguna. Taos puso po akong nagpapasalamat. Mabuhay ang LGBT ng Bay at ng buong mundo. Sulong SILaB!” Buendia pronounced.
(All I can say to the LGBT of Bay or SILaB as they call it is thank you so much for the relief I have received. This is a great help for someone like me who needed to walk from San Juan, Batangas to Bay, Laguna. I am wholeheartedly giving thanks. Long live LGBT of Bay and the whole world. Onward SILaB!)
As part of the LGBTQ community, Buendia said they can contribute to the endeavor of fighting against COVID-19 through their unity and by following the rules and laws to immediately end the pandemic.
LGBTQ as part of the society
We know that the LQBTQ community is one of the sectors hardly accepted by the society but with this story we may realize that just like everybody else, they can take on the role of addressing the needs of the underprivileged and contributing towards nation building.
Paran expressed that even the LGBTQ community must be recognized and cared for, he then pleaded, “Ang LGBTQ ay isang sektor na dapat hindi pinagdadamutan ng tulong. Isang sektor na dapat kinikilala ang kakayahan nito at mga potensyal. Sa mamamayan, sa ating bansa, magkaroon nawa ang bawat isa ng malawak na pang-unawa, malasakit, pagmamahal, at pagkalinga sa aming sektor.”
(The LGBTQ is a sector that should not be treated ungenerously. A sector that must be recognized for their abilities and potential. To our fellowmen, our country, may everyone have an open mind, concern, love and care over our sector.”)
Above all, he stressed, that no matter what happens, the LGBTQ community is part of the development of the society and will stand tall for their rights and for the full acceptance of this society.
In 2018, SILaB, which was formerly dubbed as LGBT Daglat and was also previously called Bahaghari, was established by the representatives from different villages of the town and agreed to have Paran as their voice and leader.
Paran said they decided to change their organization’s name to SILaB in order to be easily recognized as the LGBTQs of the locality.
The SILaB aims to have a recognized association of LGBTQ in the town which will take the responsibility to craft activities and programs for the welfare and organization of the sector in vast aspects of society.
“Ninanais namin na maging positibo ang tingin ng lipunan sa aming sektor na kung saan kami ay bahagi ng pag-unlad ng sa ating bayan. Maturuan at mabigyan sila ng tamang kaalaman at impormasyon na kanilang magagamit sa pakikipagsapalaran sa buhay,” the SILaB president pointed out.
(We want the society to look at our sector in a positive perspective wherein we are likewise part of our country’s progress.)
The association also seeks to help its members to adopt the right mindset as they go along with their daily lives. For them to realize their worth and to never lose hope amidst their struggles in life.
They also aim to implement projects that will help the LGBT individuals to build their skills and capacities.
SILaB proves that even the LGBTQs have an important contribution to the country especially in this trying times.
First, he said, by being a good example among other citizens that the LGBTQ sector adhere to the law implemented during the ECQ.
Second, for serving as inspiration to others by persevering no matter how difficult the world is towards their sector. “Patuloy kaming susulong! (We will continue moving forward!).”
Third, by providing moral and spiritual support to everyone through sharing prayers and good thoughts online. And finally, through extending their love and care not only among their fellow-LGBTQ but also to everyone else who are in need.
SILaB is one living proof that lending a helping hand to the disadvantaged knows no gender at all. We are all in this together as we fight against COVID-19. (Joy Gabrido)