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Santander town penalizes discrimination vs persons with HIV, AIDS, STI

By: Rosalie Abatayo - CDN Digital | October 23,2019 - 09:34 PM

Source: Municipality of Santander Facebook page

CEBU CITY, Philippines —The municipality of Santander in the southern tip of Cebu has taken steps to combat discrimination in school or at the workplace against persons suspected to be sufferers of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), and sexually transmitted infections (STI).

A fine of P2,500 and jail time of up to one year may be faced by individuals who will discriminate or violate the rights of persons suspected or perceived to be positive of HIV, AIDS or any STI.

“No educational institution shall refuse admission or expel, discipline, segregate, deny participation or services, to a student or prospective student on the basis of his/her actual, perceived, or suspected HIV status,” Section 21 of Santander’s Ordinance 209-2019 reads.

The Provincial Board’s (PB) Committee on Health and Public Service has given its nod to the town’s ordinance that provides for the creation of the HIV/STI/AIDS Council  for the promotion of awareness, prevention, and control of these conditions.

“Indeed, the legislative measure from the aforesaid municipality is significant in the pivotal move to strengthen the existing initiatives and undertaking for the prevention, treatment, care, and support for people with HIV/AIDS,” reads the committee report endorsed to the PB by Board Member Kerrie Keane Shimura of Cebu’s fourth district.

Under the Local Government Code, legislative measures of the component towns and cities need to be subjected to review and approval by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.

Santander’s Ordinance 209-2019 provides that the HIV/STI/AIDS Council will be chaired by the municipal mayor. It will be composed of the chairmen of the Sangguniang Bayan’s Committees on Public Services, Women, and Family Affairs, Municipal Health Officer as well as representatives from accredited civil society organizations, among others.

The council is also tasked to establish a comprehensive monitoring program on the said health conditions in coordination with the Municipal Health Office./elb

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