Netizens hail #HIVPolicyNow: 'Fight continues at Senate'
MANILA, Philippines – Three days after the world observed the World AIDS Day, netizens praised the approval of House Bill 6617 or the "Philippine HIV and AIDS Policy Act" in the House of Representatives on Monday, December 4.
Twitter users made hashtag #HIVPolicyNow trend in the Philippines with over 2,000 tweets as of 5 pm on Monday.
The landslide win – 188-0 votes in favor of the measure – came a week after the public slammed the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and a media outlet for baring the mugshots of suspects arrested in a drug raid, and disclosing that one of them tested positive for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).(READ: Netizens call out media outlet for baring suspects' mugshots, HIV status)
The controversy also resurrected the clamor to pass an updated law on HIV/AIDS in light of the current epidemic faced by the Philippines.
Below are some tweets that netizens posted after the House passed on 3rd and final reading the measure that seeks to protect the rights of persons living with HIV:
The proposed measure seeks to introduce the following reforms into the existing “Philippine AIDS Prevention and Control Act of 1998”:
- The restructuring of the legal framework on HIV and AIDS by harmonizing it with evidence-informed strategies and approaches on prevention, testing, screening, treatment, care, and support, making the HIV response flexible and relevant to the characteristic of the HIV epidemic facing the country;
- The clarification of the roles and responsibilities of state institutions involved in the HIV and AIDS response, from government agencies to local governments, thus ensuring the effectiveness and efficiency of the structure governing the response;
- The establishment of the National Multi-Sectoral HIV and AIDS Strategic For the netizens who celebrated the victory at the House of Representative, the fight to pass #HIVPolicyNow continues at the Senate floorPlan, thus creating a road map on HIV and AIDS that has clear strategies, targets, operationalization framework, and funding; and
- The strengthening of the information dissemination, education, and stigma reduction mechanisms of the law, which guarantees that the country’s HIV and AIDS response is premised on the respect, recognition, and promotion of human rights and dignity.
In a speech after the voting on the measure, Dinagat Representative Kaka Bag-ao, one of the champions of the bill, thanked civil society organizations who pushed for its passage.
Advocates vowed to push the passage of the counterpart measure in the Senate. – with reports from Raisa Serafica/Rappler.com