Business Believes in Diversity

#IDAHOT with the Netherlands Embassy

May 17, 2017 — Manila, Philippines

The Netherlands Embassy to the Philippines in cooperation with the Philippine LGBT Chamber of Commerce and the Philippines-Netherlands Business Council held an event on the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT), as a means to promote diversity in business and industry in the region.

Her Excellency, Ambassador Marion Derckx, started the day with a flag-raising ceremony, wherein the Rainbow Flag was raised in the Netherlands Residence in Makati City.
In the evening, she welcomed the guests, who came from both the diplomatic community and the business community. She stressed the importance of recognizing every single voice, regardless of that person’s SOGIE.

Brian Tenorio, Chair and Founder of the LGBT Chamber of Commerce, in his talk, explained that the “Out in Business” (#outinbusiness) event is a means to show that diversity in business is a good thing – that it is profitable, efficient, and an overall better environment for workers.
The COO of Maynilad, Randy Estrellado, was the first panelist to speak. He told the story of how he came out, after years of his superiors telling him that he had to get married in order to get a promotion. He says he has never been an activist, but that a good life meant he had the responsibility to speak about his experiences.

PHOTO ABOVE: Fire Sia, founder of Side B (a bisexual visibility organization) and a Training Leader in the BPO industry

They were then asked questions regarding organizational policy, their realizations about their SOGIE, and how they had the courage to come out in the open about their identities. Her Excellency, Ambassador Derckx, then awarded the official token of the event, the DIVERSITY PLATE, to the panelists, saying that it should be displayed in their offices as a symbol of their commitment to accepting diversity.

(In this photo above: DIVERSITY PLATES given to business leaders and to the panel; from left to right, Dutch Ambassador Marion Derckx, LGBT Chamber Board Member Simoun Ferrer, Maynilad COO Randy Estrellado, Side-B Philippines co-founder Fire Sia, HSBC COO John Nicholls, and PNBC member John van Dijk)
(In this photo above: #outinbusiness — Business believes in Diversity, hosted by the Netherlands Embassy in the Philippines in cooperation with the Philippine LGBT Chamber of Commerce and the Philippines-Netherlands Business Council – PNBC. In the photo, from left to right: LGBT Chamber junior member Andrei Kristian Buendia, Board Members Jayvee Salud, Paul John Mendoza Peña-Santos, Evan Tan, LGBT Chamber Chair Brian Tenorio, PNBC Head Mary Ann Pelagio Sayoc, our panelists Maynilad COO Randy Estrellado and Side-B Philippines co-founder Fire L De Ubago-Sia, Dutch Ambassador Marion Derckx, our panelist HSBC COO John Nicholls, PNBC member John van Dijk, Chamber Board Members Simoun Ferrer, Amrei Dizon, and Jeoff Solas. Not in this picture, lead organizer from the Dutch Embassy, Jennifer Buan Robles and LGBT Chamber Board Members Angel Romero and Jay Yao Campos III and LGBT Chamber junior member Mickey Miguel Eva)

The formal programme was capped off by the Chair of the Philippines-Netherlands Business Council (PNBC), Mary Ann P. Sayoc.

Videos of the event are available via They will also be available on the Chamber’s Youtube Channel.