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Do Your Mandate: Protect the People

Disclosing one’s HIV status sans his/her consent is illegal in the Philippines, but sites have been popping up claiming to know HIV-positive Filipinos, thereby violating the right to privacy of those being named in these sites. But to face this problem, what has the PNAC been doing?

Open Letter the Philippine National AIDS Council

Officer in Charge (Medical Specialist IV)
Philippine National AIDS Council Secretariat
3rd Floor, Bldg 15 San Lazaro Compound
Department of Health, Sta. Cruz, Manila

Dr. Gregorio:

The Philippine National AIDS Council (PNAC) came into being to be “the central advisory, planning and policy-making body for the comprehensive and integrated HIV/AIDS prevention and control program in the Philippines.” PNAC’s key functions are: to help curb the spread of HIV and AIDS in the country; and to protect the rights of Filipinos with HIV.

The mere statement of these is redundant, considering this letter is addressed to PNAC itself.

However, the continuing existence of a blog (—) highlights the need for PNAC’s mandate to be emphasized.

The blog in consideration has been in existence for a while now, putting on names of MSM rumored to be HIV-positive. As if naming them is not bad enough, photographs of these MSM are also posted.

R.A. 8504 (Philippine AIDS Prevention and Control Act of 1998) – the very law that created PNAC – similarly highlighted the importance of confidentiality, which shall “encompass all forms of communication that directly or indirectly lead to the disclosure of information on the identity or health status of any person who undergoes HIV testing or is diagnosed to have HIV. This information may include but is not limited to the name, address, picture, physical description or any other characteristic of a person which may lead to his/her identification.”

The very existence of this blog mocks the law.

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Unfortunately, no matter the number of complaints mere Internet users like us file with Google, we are not always heeded. Only PNAC can OFFICIALLY lodge a complaint to Google against the blogger; only a government-sanctioned body (i.e. PNAC) can authoritatively claim the illegality of the very existence of this blog.

We have been made aware that PNAC already knows of this problem; but that the blog actually thrives highlights the need for PNAC to be repeatedly made aware of its duties.

Lives are getting ruined the longer you take action.

We hope for a speedy move on this, as we all look forward to a day when one’s serostatus will no longer be used as a reason to be discriminated against.

Joselito R. Feliciano, MD
Medical Specialist III

Virginia “Lily” C. Evangelista
Administrative Officer

Efren L. Chanliongco
Program & Evaluation Officer

Glenn A. Cruz
Media Reproduction Specialist

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The founder of Outrage Magazine, Michael David dela Cruz Tan completed BA Communication Studies from University of Newcastle in NSW, Australia. He grew up in Mindanao (particularly Kidapawan and Cotabato City), but he "really came out in Sydney" so that "I sort of know what it's like to be gay in a developing, and a developed world". Mick can: photograph, do artworks with mixed media, write (DUH!), shoot flicks, community organize, facilitate, lecture, research (with pioneering studies), and converse in Filipino Sign Language. He authored "Being LGBT in Asia: Philippines Country Report", and "Red Lives" that creatively retells stories from the local HIV community. Among others, Mick received the Catholic Mass Media Awards (CMMA) in 2006 for Best Investigative Journalism, and Arts that Matter - Literature from Amnesty Int'l Philippines in 2020. Cross his path is the dare (guarantee: It won't be boring).


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