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Proposed law on proxy consent for AIDS testing under study

THE proposed ordinance on proxy consent of AIDS Testing was thoroughly tackled by the City Council committee on health and sanitation and health insurance chaired by Councilor Maria Lourdes S. Gaane with the representatives of Department of Health (DOH), City Legal Office, City Health Office, City Health Insurance Office (CHIO) and other AIDS advocates.

During the meeting last week, Atty Ernesto Neri of the City Legal Office cited some provisions of RA 8504 specifying the parents and legal guardians can give consent for their children to undergo AIDS testing.

However, he said the city may enact an ordinance regarding proxy consent under the guidelines that HIV and AIDS is a compelling state interest and the best interest of the child should be prioritized.

Councilor Gaane informed the committee that the city has already enrolled 75,000 to 100,000 constituents to the PhilHealth-Sponsored Program.

She said the Local Aids Council recently recommended the enrolment of persons infected with HIV.

With this, Gaane called on National Government Offices (NGOs) with advocacies on HIV to coordinate with Dr. William Bernardo of CHIO for their clients to avail of the program.

For his part, Jose Saligumba of the Northern Mindanao AIDS Advocates Society (NORMAA) cited references in enacting the ordinances such as HB 6617 of Phillippine HIV and AIDS Policy Act, PD 603 on law providing for HIV and AIDS prevention, treatment, care and support and RA 7610, otherwise known as Special Protection of Children against abuse, exploitation and discrimination act.

The committee requested the DOH for a copy of the guidelines on proxy consent. The committee will secure a copy of the Executive Order issued by Davao LGU on proxy consent and endorse this to the City Legal Office for possible drafting of an ordinance. (JBD)

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