Statement of the Commission on Human Rights lauding Quezon City’s initiative to launch the ‘Right to Care’ card

Statement of the Commission on Human Rights lauding Quezon City’s initiative to launch the ‘Right to Care’ card

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) commends the Quezon City local government for its efforts to make healthcare more accessible and inclusive to members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex (LGBTQI) community by launching the Right to Care card. We laud their initiative to embody the values promoted by the equal protection principles affirmed in the 1987 Constitution’s Bill of Rights and Yogyakarta Principles, among others.

The lack of legislation that recognizes the rights of members of the LGBTQI community inherently puts them at a disadvantage, especially in the aspect of healthcare. This is primarily due to the fact that hospitals and other medical facilities only recognize and account for insights from legal spouses or next of kin, inevitably ruling out the presence of same-sex partners. Thus, the efforts of Mayor Joy Belmonte, alongside MullenLowe TREYNA, through Senior Art Director Adrian de Guzman, to combat the inaccessible nature of such proves that the launch of the Right to Care card is a monumental step in achieving genuine equality within Quezon City.

The Right to Care card, through a Special Power of Attorney (SPA), shall authorize queer couples to choose the kind of treatment, procedures, tests, and prescriptions that their partners shall receive. They will also be allowed to provide care during hospitalization and receive important information throughout the duration of admission. This program shall initially be implemented at government hospitals within Quezon City, but will soon see its expansion to public or private Quezon City-based hospitals upon conducting important orientations and sealing partnerships with public and private Quezon City-based hospitals.

This is a commendable move that concretely recognizes autonomy and personal choice by granting LGBTQI couples the right to make medical decisions for their partners as needed. It recognizes their unique and intimate knowledge of their partner’s preferences, needs, medical history, and support, among others The initiative also guarantees that the partner is kept abreast about their loved one’s condition and progress, which helps ensure information access and confidentiality.

The Right to Care card provides concrete legal protection and recognition in the healthcare setting. It respects the couple’s authority and involvement in their partner’s care thus preventing exclusion, discrimination, and denial of information or participation. It is also expected that it will alleviate the stress and anxiety during difficult hospitalization periods by allowing LGBTQI members to actively contribute and participate in the care and well-being of their partner.

The Commission continues to emphasize the need for legislation that protects and ensures the rights of individuals belonging to the LGBTQI community. In order to attain genuine equality in society, accessibility to services—such as, but not limited to healthcare—must be guaranteed regardless of gender and sexual orientation. No less than President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. stated that members of the LGBTQI community must be supported, respected, and freed from all forms of discrimination. We are hopeful that this will help propel the urgent passage of the Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Gender Expression, or Sex Characteristics (SOGIESC) equality bill.

CHR hopes that the Quezon City government’s actions will serve as an inspiration to other cities to pursue projects and policies that will protect and empower the LGBTQI community. Through proactive efforts both at the local and national levels, we can truly build a society that embodies genuine equality and empowerment for all. ###