SOGIE and Seas 2021
Hidilyn Diaz. Maria Ressa. Beatrice Luigi Gomez. They are just some of those that made a mark last year in their respective fields and career. Indeed, despite the different challenges faced by women and members of the LGBTQIA+ Community, they have continued to excel. Just like diamonds, they shone brightly under pressure.
One particular learning event by the DENR Biodiversity Management Bureau highlighting the efforts of various gender groups on the protection and conservation of the environment is the “SOGIE and Seas”. It was organized by the Coastal and Marine Division (CMD) as part of the Coastal and Marine Ecosystems Management Program’s (CMEMP’s) commitment to Gender and Development (GAD) held last December 13 and 14, 2021 via Zoom and Facebook Live.
Resource speakers from different organizations have explained how Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Expression (SOGIE) and GAD is related to environmental conservation efforts. Mr. Giano Potes, SOGIE Officer in the University of the Philippines Diliman Gender Office (UPDGO), discussed basic SOGIE concepts, highlighting that everyone has their own SOGIE and that it is fluid by nature. On the other hand, Dr. Rowena Navera, representing the Philippine Commission on Women National GAD Resource Pool, introduced Gender and Development, and its possible application and implementation in government programs.
DENR Climate Change Service Director Elenida Basug discussed the relationship between gender and climate change. She mentioned the need for natural resource managers to step up and do transformative actions, which calls for interdisciplinary undertakings that demand commitments from different participants and cooperators. Ms. Antoinette Taus, Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), highlighted the valuable roles and contributions of women in achieving a sustainable planet, which she partakes in through her founded organization CORA (Communities Organized for Resource Allocation). CORA creates sustainable programs to empower volunteers, especially the women and the youth, in contributing to solving the world’s pressing social and environmental issues.
Ecosystems Management Specialist from BMB CMD, Mr. Grick Cordero, a licensed SCUBA diver, and member of the LGBTQIA+ Community, emphasized the key skills and characteristics of the LGBTQIA+ Community members that may be harnessed to contribute to combating climate change, and biodiversity degradation. Representing the youth sector are the founders of Kids4Kids Philippines, Mss. Tasha and Isabella Tanjutco. The young sisters presented how powerful the youth are, and that in unity, they can make a big difference.
SOGIE in action
Another highlight of the SOGIE and Seas event are the presentations of selected People’s Organizations who are operating their Biodiversity-Friendly Enterprises or BDFEs. These organizations were: (1) Samahang Kababaihan ng Inansuana-Lucap Co.; (2) Ubagan Fisherfolk Association; (3) Selinog Island Dapitan Women's Association (SIDWA); and (4) Lumad Moro Christian Women’s Association (LMCWA). Each POs presented their local initiatives in helping conserve the environment; they also showcased how women contributed to their endeavors.
This undertaking is a stepping stone for the improvement and implementation of Gender and Development projects, especially in government programs. It is vital that women, youth, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community are given the same platform in helping conserve and protect the environment. Through their empowerment, we get a better chance to save our home — Earth.