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FF Forum on Reason, Science, and Secularism a Success

In an effort to further the causes of reason, science, and secularism (RSS) in the public sphere, and to celebrate the group’s progress over the course of three years, the Filipino Freethinkers (FF) successfully held its third official forum last April 1 at the UP Ayalaland-Technohub.

Attendees were greeted by an exhibit featuring props and materials used in our many events and demonstrations, including the “coming out” closet used during the 29 Steps for LGBT Rights event, the cardboard SUVs worn by the “bishops” during the Bantay Bishop demonstration, and several of our most memorable placards for various RH rallies and the LGBT Pride March.

Attendees were also handed a copy of From Flickers to Flames: Blazing the trail for reason, science, and secularism in the Philippines, a mini-anthology featuring some of the best articles from our official website.

Opening the program was our beloved UP Diliman Senior Faculty Advisor Dr. Sylvia Claudio.

President Red Tani then kicked the presentations off with a primer on freethought.

This was followed by Affiliations Director Garrick Bercero’s presentation on our growing number of school and provincial chapters.

Online Director Jeiel Aranal expounded on our command of the Internet and social media.

RH Advocacy Director Kenneth Keng narrated our story in the fight for both Reproductive Health and Freedom of Expression. He also acknowledged the presence of several of our allies from the Reproductive Health Advocacy Network (RHAN), including Elizabeth Angsioco and Dr. Junice Melgar.

The audience was then treated to an awesome intermission by Silly People’s Improv Theater, or SPIT.

The forum continued with LGBT Advocacy Director Beatriz Torre’s presentation on our burgeoning alliance with the LGBT community.

Science Advocacy Director Pecier Decierdo spoke about our passion for and efforts towards science literacy. He also lent the floor to Mind Museum Director Maribel Garcia so she could share a few heartening words.

Publications Director Marguerite de Leon highlighted our website’s most influential and infamous articles.

To round up the series of presentations, Secularism Director Pepe Bawagan gave our State of Secularism Address, arguably the most popular presentation that day.

The floor was then opened for questions and comments, and regular and new members alike brought up many interesting topics, from establishing programs for secular parenting, to people who wave around their PhDs to buttress bigoted beliefs.

To cap off the event, Pepe Bawagan presented the winners of four very special awards.

The Reason Award went to professor and columnist Raul Pangalangan.

The Science Award went to astrophysicist Reinabelle Reyes.

And the Secularism Award went to RH champion Senator Pia Cayetano.

Last but certainly not the least, the Bigot of the Year Award went to Senator Tito Sotto. The first three awardees will have Php10,000 donated in their name to the charity of their choice, while Sen. Sotto’s Php10,000 will be donated in his name to RHAN, an organization whose cause he is directly opposed to.

Upon the forum’s conclusion, attendees milled around the exhibit area, chatting and taking photos with the props and placards.

Overall, we felt that the event was a great success, and we are thrilled and humbled by all the people who decided to come over and spend a sunny Sunday afternoon with us immersed in reason, science, and secularism. ‘Til the next forum!

Images c/o Chris Sienna, Igmidio Galingan, Bhavan Karnani, and Dustin Celestino

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RSVP to the 3rd Filipino Freethinkers Forum!

It’s been three years since the Filipino Freethinkers began their quest to uphold reason, science, and secularism (RSS) in the Philippines. To celebrate this fact and set the course for the future of RSS, we’re holding our 3rd official forum this Sunday, April 1, from 1:30 PM to 6:30 PM at Tech Portal Conference Rooms A and B at the UP-Ayalaland Technohub (directions here). Entrance is absolutely free–simply RSVP here!

Apart from presentations by FF’s various advocacy directors and allies, we’ll also be presenting very special awards to individuals who have truly championed reason, science, and secularism in recent years. Moreover, we’re also giving an extra-special award to the person voted Philippines’s Biggest Bigot 2012! Click here to cast your vote!

This is a special occasion for those of us who truly value our rights and our freedoms. Join us as we celebrate a new chapter for freethought here in the Philippines!

(Download the press release/press kit here.)

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Who is the Philippines’s Biggest Bigot? Cast Your Vote!

In the last few years, the Filipino Freethinkers have encountered a number of big bigots in the local scene whose words and actions truly show an unwillingness to embrace fact instead of fiction, and equal human rights instead of being selfish and dictatorial. From Senator Tito Sotto’s literal laughter in the face of maternal deaths, to Eric Manalang’s plea that our mothers should have aborted us, we’ve gotten to know quite a few bad eggs.

For the 3rd Filipino Freethinkers Forum this coming April 1, we will be handing out the 2012 Biggest Bigot Award to the person YOU think has worked hardest at being a close-minded douchebag. As our prize, the winner gets to have money donated in their name to the cause they are directly opposed to! Isn’t that nice? Everybody wins!

To vote, simply click here and cast your vote! Some of your choices include Senator Tito Sotto, Manny Pacquiao, Archbishop Oscar Cruz, Archbishop Teodoro Bacani, Eric Manalang and Rizalito David.

Follow your heart and vote away! Voting ends March 31, and we’ll announce the winner right after the forum. And for those interested in attending the forum, please RSVP here.

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Forum: The Struggle for LGBT Equality in the U.S. – 27 May 2011

LGBT forum - 27 May 2011The Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines hosted a dinner forum with LGBT advocacy groups on The Struggle for LGBT Equality in the U.S. on Friday, May 27, 2011, at 7:00 p.m. in the Botero Dali Room, Sulo Riviera Hotel, Quezon City. The speaker for the event was Ms. Christine Sun, former senior counsel, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Foundation.

Forum: The Struggle for LGBT Equality in the U.S. – 27 May 2011
Some of us from Filipino Freethinkers were there to attend and discuss LGBT rights issues with Babaylan and other LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) advocacy groups.

LGBT forum - 27 May 2011
Mike from the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy introduced our speaker for the evening, Ms. Christine Sun, who was a former senior counsel of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Foundation. Topics of her speech included a brief timeline of LGBT rights in the U.S., its political progress and legal progress, current LGBT issues and ongoing challenges for the LGBT community. Then she answered some questions from the audience. The discussions were lively and passionate, as it included issues such as the suspected rash of hate crimes that are on the rise in Metro Manila.

LGBT forum - 27 May 2011Afterwards, during dinner, we got to talk more with our speaker and other LGBT advocates about the current issues in the country, and our plans of action. I got to meet a lot of great, passionate people.

One of us from FF got to interview Ms. Sun for a newspaper article.

LGBT forum - 27 May 2011

Here’s wishing all of us good luck in our endeavors.

Online resources:

[Reposted from The Entropy Blog]

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