A celebration of unity in diversity

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During the opening of the 82nd Araw ng Davao on March 1, Davao City Mayor Inday Sara Duterte noted that the celebration centers on the hardwork, sacrifices, discipline, and success of every Dabawenyo.

Davao City is known for many things, including the local government unit’s track record in institutionalizing trailblazing ordinance.

Even the world has recognized the city’s successful implementation of the Anti-Smoking Ordinance when the Global Smoke-free Partnership (GSP) presented an award to the Davao City Anti-Smoking Task Force in Cancun, Mexico Way in 2009. Add to that the Anti-Discrimination Ordinance, which was also the first in the country when it was passed several years ago.

On March 2, three ladies have been chosen to become ambassadresses of Davao City: Mutya ng Davao 2019 Clydel June Tabacolde (center), Diwa ng Davao Jeriza Uy (right) and Sinag ng Davao Eula Cristine Napuli (left).

As the city celebrates its 82nd founding anniversary, Dabawenyos long realized that these ordinances are not just for the sake of having ordinances. The city’s people of varied origins know better. A highly-urbanized city like Davao has become home to thousands of people from different walks of life. It is actually this diversity that has made the city more interesting, and surprisingly, it is this diversity that continues to challenge the local government to unite its people and live harmoniously despite their differences.

This year’s Araw ng Davao celebration is a showcase of the many cultures and people that make the city what it is now. The Search for Mutya ng Davao alone is a personification of what the city represents. The revelation that one of the contestants to the Mutya Search belongs to the Lesbians, Gay, Bisexual and Transgenders (LGBT) community made this year’s pageant more interesting, but not surprising at all, considering the local government’s thrust to welcome everyone who want to take part in the celebration. Regardless of one’s sexual orientation, what is important is the applicant’s social responsibility and advocacy, specifically focused on women’s welfare.

But that’s just icing on the cake because for the first time, the city has launched a pageant for men, bolstering the no-discrimination campaign. City Tourism Operations Office (CTOO) chief Generose Tecson said it best when she stressed that “we are opening up the pageant for men in order to showcase the values of the Dabawenyo men, their advocacies and social responsibility.”

As an acknowledgment of the diverse orientation of Dabawenyos, this year’s Araw ng Davao celebration will also feature, for the first time again, the Search for the Reyna Davaoeña for transwomen. It is also the city’s way of celebrating the LGBTQ community’s eighth year.

The Araw ng Davao 2019 celebration promises to be an eye opener to those who have yet to open their hearts and minds to this reality we call diversity. And as always, Davao City will always be there to lead the pack.