Iloilo mayor apologizes to LGBTQ community for anti-gay slur
ILOILO CITY –– Mayor Jerry Treñas on Tuesday apologized to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community a day after he used an anti-gay slur in castigating courts dealing with the legal dispute of rival power distribution firms.
“In my passion to protect (the) people’s interest against this power struggle that continues to affect Ilonggos, I have been insensitive in my choice of words that seemingly discriminated against the LGBTQ (community),” the mayor said in a statement.
“For this, I express my utmost apology to the LGBTQ (community) and to everyone who was slighted by my statement. Rest assured that I and the city government always have the best interest of the LGBTQ community at heart,” he said.
On Monday, Treñas expressed exasperation over the failure of the courts to decide on the cases involving the Panay Electric Company (Peco) and More Power Electric Corp. (More Power).
More Power, which was granted a 25-year distribution franchise in February, is seeking to expropriate Peco’s distribution assets but the two firms have been locked in a legal dispute, including cases pending before the Supreme Court.
“Indi pwede ang korte mag inagi (Courts can’t be sissies/gay). They will have to decide one way or the other,” he told reporters.
“Agi” is Hiligaynon for gay.
Treñas said it was not his intention to offend members of the LGBTQ community.
“ … They are given due recognition and acceptance in our city. We have an LGBTQ Office in City Hall, and we have been highly supportive of their activities,” he said.
The Iloilo Pride Team welcomed the mayor’s apology.
“This self-criticism issued by the mayor shows at least a sensitivity that is evident of a move to make Iloilo a safe space for all,” the group said in a statement.
But it noted that the mayor’s use of the homophobic slur “inagi” reflected the common perception that “wavering, vacillation or non-action is similar to being gay.”
This perception is a reflection of a “long history of patriarchy” in Philippine society and politics,” according to the statement.
“For the longest time, being gay is cowardice when, in fact, it is the bravest thing one can do for oneself. Coming out as gay in a country fraught with discrimination, bullying, gender-based violence, and a stigma is an act of courage. ‘Inagi’ is now about standing up for equality and not a sign of cowardice,” the group said.
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