Press Release
May 21, 2018


Third and Final Reading
May 21, 2018

Finally, Mr. President, my dear colleagues, an HIV law that we need.

A policy that will not only focus on prevention but will deliver treatment, care, and support services to Filipino PLHIVs.

A response that is evidence-based, human rights-centered, and gender-responsive.

An approach that is inclusive--ensuring that communities, civil-society organizations, public health institutions are consulted and that People Living with HIV are at the front, center, and heart of the process.

A strategy that removes the climate of stigma which clouds the epidemic and makes the access to health service an impossible dream for our vulnerable communities.

At this point, I would like to thank the passionate and seemingly tireless advocates who through the years have been constant figures in our halls, at our lobbies and committee rooms: The Action for Health Initiative (ACHIEVE), The Library Foundation TLF-Share, HIV AIDS Support House, NoBox Philippines, PAMACQ, Candon Youth Movement, Philippine Sex Workers Collective, KAKAMMPI, GAYON, 8HAVEN, Viva Vivo Zamboanga, ALAGAD-Mindanao, RedX, APWAI, HACG, UWVI, CrossBreeds, Juan Positive Movement, TAHAS, MAAAI, SHIP, The Red Whistle, NORMAAA, CPAI, B-Change, The Love Yourself, and Positibong Pasigueno.

I would also like to acknowledge the support of the UNAIDS, the Department of Health, Philippine National Aids Council, the PLCPD, the Senate Committee on Health, and of course my fellow co-authors in both the House and the Senate.

Mr. President, my fellow Senators, the first AIDS case in the Philippines was reported in 1984. Since then, science has progressed and the rest of the world has left us behind in the dark corners of this epidemic.

In Borrowed Time: An AIDS Memoir, Paul Monette said, "[i]t will be recorded that the dead in the first decade of the calamity died of our indifference."

Our years of indifference have brought us 141 per cent rate of increase, the number one in Asia and the Pacific in HIV incidence. This indifference has cost lost dreams and untimely deaths.

Today, we end this indifference. We now have a new policy that does not leave behind the most vulnerable, the most affected.

To the young girl whom I met last week, Vina, who I learned was diagnosed when she was a teenager, and our indefatigable lobbyist Nanay Elena, who have been living with HIV for over 20 years, and to all the Filipino PLHIVs, who have become our hope and inspiration:


Finally, we have a law that can beat this epidemic.

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