Palace says compulsory HIV test against the law

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 18 2014 04:08 PM | Updated as of May 19 2014 02:20 AM

MANILA -- In light of a proposal from the Department of Health (DOH) to make HIV testing compulsory, Malacanang assured that it will only implement policies that comply with existing laws.

In an interview with radio dzRB, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. clarified that the Health department is still in the process of discussing different options.

"‘Yung sa DOH po ay proposal pa lamang... Nasa proseso pa lang ng pagtatalakay ng iba’t ibang opsyon. Wala naman po silang binabanggit na ipapatupad na patakaran hinggil diyan. Kaya siguro nandoon pa talaga tayo sa aspeto na dapat ‘yan ay maging purely voluntary lamang," he said.

Coloma stressed that Republic Act 8504, or the Philippine AIDS Prevention and Control Act of 1998 does not allow compulsory HIV testing, adding that the government will not allow the implementation of any policy that goes against existing laws.

"Wala naman po tayong iginigiit na hindi naaayon sa batas. Dapat po kung ano man ang ipapatupad (ay) masuri nang maigi kung ito ay naaayon sa batas. At ayon nga doon sa nasaliksik natin hinggil sa probisyon ng RA 8504, hindi pinapahintulutan ‘yang compulsory HIV testing," he said.

"Makatitiyak ang ating mga kababayan na sa lahat ng pagkakataon ang pamahalaan ay magpapatupad lamang ng mga legal na kautusan o patakaran dahil bilang mga lingkod-bayan lahat ng aming pagkilos ay dapat na naaayon sa batas," he added.

DOH Assistant Secretary Eric Tayag earlier announced that the department is working out details for making HIV tests compulsory so as to prevent the spread of the disease.

He also added that the health department wants to debunk the myth that testing positive for HIV is a "death sentence."

However, under Republic Act 8504 or the Philippine AIDS Prevention and Control Act of 1998, it is considered unlawful for HIV testing to be a precondition for employment, admission to educational institutions and the provision of medical or any kind of service.

Several groups have also voiced out their opposition to the proposal.