USAID Supports LGBT Rights and Issues Forum in Zamboanga City


The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through its Enhancing Governance through Accountability and Engagement (ENGAGE) Program supported the gathering of leaders of the lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders (LGBT) community in Zamboanga City on September 14 to discuss issues on discrimination, sexuality and identity during the 11th Speak Out Zamboanga, dubbed as “Mainstreaming LGBT rights and issues in Zamboanga City.”

lgbt 3City Mayor Beng Climaco, addressing some 90 participants of the forum, highlighted the need to respect the dignity of every person, regardless of gender identity, sexuality, or orientation.

Speak Out Zamboanga is a youth forum designed to serve as an avenue for young people to share their thoughts and discuss matters affecting the City and the youth sector.  Now on its second year, the forum is undertaken by the City Government in collaboration with various youth organizations and formations and is supported by USAID-ENGAGE.

Among the major issues raised by the LGBT leaders were: becoming victims of sexual abuse and bullying as children, stereotyping leading to decreased career opportunities, physical violence, being treated as a second class citizen, and discrimination inside the church, among others.

lgbt 4

Among the recommendations raised by the groups were: awareness campaigns to address bullying and discrimination, promotion of responsible and gender-sensitive journalism, support for HIV-AIDS program and interventions, enactment of anti-discrimination ordinance, program on gender-sensitive parenting, promotion of community dialogue on gender and development.

The forum concluded with the formation of a core group of leaders coming from various LGBT groups who will work towards the formation of an LGBT alliance in the city.

President Obama’s message on Hajj and Eid al-Adha

(Photo from ShareAmerica; © AP Images)

(Photo from ShareAmerica; © AP Images)

Statement by the President on the Occasion of Hajj and Eid al-Adha

As more than 2 million Muslims from around the world and across the United States mark the end of their holy pilgrimage of Hajj in Mecca, Michelle and I extend our warmest wishes to Muslims around the world celebrating Eid al-Adha.

This pilgrimage and Eid is about sacrifice, almsgiving, and equality. Thousands of Muslims around the world travel to Mecca and Medina, leaving behind all that is valuable and dressed in a simple white cloth – all standing shoulder-to-shoulder and equal before God. This experience signifies that no single person is more worthy than another. It is reminiscent of the principle upon which this country is built: e pluribus unum – out of many, one. Regardless of race, religion, and gender we are reminded that our rich diversity is what strengthens our Nation.

Eid is also a time to give food, shelter and health services to those in need. Muslim Americans have always joined with other faith communities and entities to assist those suffering from hunger and conflict here at home and abroad. Once again, at a time of such desperate need, Muslim American organizations are among those at the forefront of attending to victims in this refugee crisis.

May the prayers for peace from those on pilgrimage as well as those of all beliefs be heard and answered. For all those celebrating, Eid Mubarak from my family to yours.

(Original post from ShareAmerica)

Go Negosyo and US Embassy Empower Young Entrepreneurs in Mindanao

[Reposted from GoNegosyo]


The Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship—Go Negosyo and US Embassy in Manila hosted the Mindanao leg of the Youth Entrepreneurship Development Workshop in Zamboanga City last September 9-11. The three-day workshop was held in the Garden Orchid Hotel. Youth participants came from as far as Sulu, General Santos, Tawi-Tawi, Cagayan de Oro and other parts of Mindanao.

Go Negosyo Angelpreneurs graced the workshop’s Day 1 with their fruitful presentations. The first speaker is Mr. Armando “Butz” Bartolome, president of GMB Franchise Developers Inc. Sir Butz talked about how one can re-discover the entrepreneurial mindset and the secrets of spotting business opportunities. Mr. Victor “Vix” Madlangbayan of Manok Mabuhay zeroed in on business model development and Ms. Tess Dimaculangan, Managing Partner of Dimaculangan and Co. CPAs enlightened the YEDW fellows with the much needed business finance knowledge. Finally, Mr. Willy “The Brand Healer” Arcilla mentored everyone on the basics of marketing.

YEDW Mindanao leg speakers with Go Negosyo Executive Director, Mr. Ramon Lopez.

YEDW Mindanao leg speakers with Go Negosyo Executive Director, Mr. Ramon Lopez.

Day 2 kicked off with a talk entitled “That thing called Ideaction: Leaping from idea to proof of concept” from a Young South East Asian Leaders Initiative or YSEALI alumnus, Mr. Ryan Louie Madrid, followed by another topic presentations from franchising guru Mr. Butz Bartolome (Franchising as a Tool for Business Expansion) and Mr. Vix Madlangbayan (Product Development and Marketing.)

One of the highlights of the workshop is the experience sharing of home-grown Mindanaoan entrepreneurs through a panel discussion. The Fellows got to ask relevant questions to the panel composed of Mr. Edwin To of Price Wise Marketing Corporation, Imelda Dagus of Dennis Coffee Garden and Ivy Simbajon of Myrna’s Bakehouse.

Guests from the USAID Gerardo Porta (Senior Democracy and Governance Specialist) and Jay De Quiros (Economic Growth Specialist) also discussed the USAID Philippine-American Fund and USAID initiatives on improving the investment climate in cities respectively.

At the end of the day, Mr. Ramon Lopez, Go Negosyo Executive Director, shared his expertise on different entrepreneurial topics such as marketing, branding and tips in managing a business enterprise.

Mr. Ramon Lopez, Go Negosyo Executive Director.

Mr. Ramon Lopez, Go Negosyo Executive Director.

After the dinner, the participants and organizers enjoyed the fellowship night where they got to know each other more and play some games.

It’s all business on day 3. The top 10 from the business idea and existing business categories were chosen and each of them presented in front of the panel of judges composed of Mr. Edwin To, Mr. Willy Arcilla an Engineer Rolando G. Acuna of CESO V (Provincial Director of DTI Region 9.) Each fellow from the top 10 were given 5 minutes to present their business or idea and another 5 minutes to answer the questions from the judges.

After the deliberation, the top 5 and eventual cash prize winners were announced as follows:

Business Idea Category:
Fiel Melan Bulaong
Richard Celeste
Shayryl Mae Ramos
Nelben Raymunda
Business Idea category Winner of P10,000: Robert Basco

Existing Business Category:
Andrew Ryan Cabillas
Kaye Layco
Arnold Sotto
Hazel Yap
Existing Business Category Winner of P30,000: Gideon Rey Pahagas

40 Youth Leaders Complete Padayon Mindanao Program

USAID Senior Development Adviser Paul Mason led the awarding of certificates of completion to 40 Padayon Mindanao youth leaders in Cebu City. “For almost three years, Padayon has facilitated interaction of youth from conflict communities with fellow youth from other parts of the country through leadership camps. These camps have built friendships, learning opportunities and a network of future peace advocates and leaders,” Mason said.

Padayon Mindanao is a three-year partnership activity of USAID and U.S.Peace Corps - Philippines that supports peacebuilding in Mindanao. Padayon provides life skills training to youth, promotes community engagement and peace education, and increases capacity of teachers and youth leaders towards meeting the education needs of youth and vulnerable populations through alternative learning in areas affected by crisis and conflict. The U.S. Peace Corps implements Padayon Mindanao in coordination with the Philippine Department of Education (DepEd) and Department of Social Welfare and Development.

First posted on USAID Philippines’ Facebook page