Manila, Philippines, 7 July 2023 - Quisumbing Torres, in partnership with Integrated Bar of the Philippines Makati, successfully hosted a Pride Month Webinar, marking a significant milestone in the firm's commitment to inclusivity, fairness, and advocacy for the modern Filipino LGBTQ+ employee.

The webinar served as a celebration of diversity, a platform for dialogue, and an opportunity to reflect on the inroads made toward creating a more inclusive and equitable workplace.

The firm's management committee member and head of the firm's Inclusion, Diversity & Equity (ID&E) initiatives Gil Roberto Zerrudo opened the discussion with a reaffirmation of the firm's commitment to ID&E.

"Our commitment extends beyond mere awareness and dialogue. In the spirit of Pride, we pledge to foster an environment where everyone, irrespective of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression, can feel valued, respected, and empowered," he said.

Guest speaker Philippine Financial and Industry Pride (PFIP) Executive Director Jai Leonard Carinan, who identifies as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, shared his personal experiences of discrimination and the importance of creating safe and inclusive environments.

He also shared how the lack of a national anti-discrimination law and recognition of LGBTQ+ families and the presence of discrimination in the workplace led to the creation of the PFIP Playbook for LGBT+ Inclusive Workplaces in the Philippines and how it can help workplaces be more inclusive.

"To create truly inclusive workplaces, organizations are encouraged to take concrete actions. Continuous education and training are essential, and organizations can leverage resources such as the PFIP SOGIE modules to foster understanding and awareness. It is also crucial to promote a culture of inclusion through policies and employee experiences. Employee resource groups should be empowered to drive inclusion, and leaders should actively support and advocate for LGBT+ causes," he said.

Meanwhile, another guest speaker, OfficePartners360 Legal & Compliance Senior Director Tess Tan, an ally of the LGBTQ+ community, emphasized the need for allies to take action rather than just offering lip service to the cause.

"Being an ally means going from words to action. It's going beyond lip service to truly inclusive and transformative leadership. The role of an ally is not to identify what the needs of the community are. Our role is to allow them to use up space to take up space in order for them to be heard and to help that marginalized community build policy reforms so that society becomes a safer and more inclusive place for all," she said.

Moderated by Quisumbing Torres Intellectual Property, Data and Technology Practice Group Associate Jose Angelo Tiglao, the panel discussion also highlighted the role of the organization's leaders to be genuine allies and drive the change from the top.

"When leaders actively support and prioritize inclusivity, employees feel safe and empowered to be their authentic selves. They must listen to their employees and empower them to be accountable partners in promoting inclusivity," Carinan said.

Quisumbing Torres ID&E lead partner Alain Charles Veloso ended the webinar emphasizing how "making a deliberate and conscious effort to be more inclusive and equitable in the workplace for the LGBTQ+ community should not be difficult in principle."

He said the "organization's moral and ethical responsibility is to respect, recognize, and embrace" the individual difference" of its employees.

"We will continue to be at the forefront in pushing for a more inclusive, diverse, and equitable community not just in the legal profession but also in the country," he added.

About Quisumbing Torres Inclusion, Diversity & Equity

Inclusion, diversity and equity (ID&E) are central to our Firm's culture and values, as well as its strategy. Our ongoing emphasis on ID&E throughout our business benefits our people, our clients, and our industry. Our approach to ID&E focuses on leadership, accountability, and humility.

At QT, we strive to live our values by incorporating ID&E into everything we do. We have progressed from simple implementation of ID&E initiatives to embedding a change culture in which these values are key factors in how we do business. We have progressed toward our goals, including our ongoing emphasis on developing a culture of mentoring and sponsorship, creating opportunity and access, and amplifying impact through education and collaboration, not only within our firm but also to our external stakeholders and the rest of the legal community.

About Quisumbing Torres

Quisumbing Torres offers clients integrated solutions to complex legal challenges.

Our culture, developed nearly 60 years as a member firm of Baker & McKenzie International, enables us to collaborate across borders and practice areas. We provide seamless advice underpinned by local market knowledge and deep sector expertise so that business leaders can feel confident in driving growth that is both sustainable and inclusive.