MANILA -- Organizers of Metro Manila Pride, the biggest annual gathering of the LGBTQ community in the country, on Monday said that the event is set to go online amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
This after the group decided to cancel the originally planned date on June 27 as it "can bring unnecessary risks to public health and might further burden our healthcare system and other frontline services that are already struggling to respond to the effects of this pandemic."
"Social distancing does not mean social disconnection. As we physically distance from each other, let us not forget to practice social solidarity. While the situation prevents us from coming together in person, it will in no way stop us from using online spaces to fight for our rights, protest injustices against the LGBTQI+ sector, stand in solidarity with other vulnerable sectors, and celebrate our communities," the group said in a statement.
"We may not fill the streets but we will still be as loud and as proud in as many digital channels as possible. We invite everyone to tune in to our social media pages and our website in the next few weeks as we announce the online events and activities we have lined up for you."
Some 70,000 participants joined last year's event, more than double of 2018's around 25,000 attendees, organizers said.
Manila's rally comes as New York expects millions of marchers for its 50th commemoration of the city's Stonewall riots, a turning point in the LGBTQ community's fight for rights.
Pride march began after a riot broke out in 1969 at Stonewall Inn, a gay club in downtown Manhattan. The first Pride event was held in 1970 to commemorate the anniversary of the riot.