The Right to Care Card will be made operational through a Special Power of Attorney (SPA) and will recognize the decision of the cardholders to agree, refuse, or withdraw consent of any type of medical care for their partners including treatment, procedures, tests, and prescriptions.
The Philippines currently does not legally recognize same-sex unions, either in the form of marriage or civil unions. Hospitals and medical facilities nationwide only accept decisions from legal spouses or next of kin, further excluding same-sex couples from making important medical decisions for their respective partners.
Mayor Joy Belmonte, who heads the country’s most populated city, is a vocal ally of the LGBTQIA+ community and a champion of equality. She expresses the importance of this initiative in recognizing the life-long commitment and right to care of LGBTQIA+ members to their partners.
“There have been reports of LGBTQIA+ community members who were prohibited from making crucial decisions when their partners were admitted to intensive care units of hospitals,” Mayor Belmonte shared. “We want all of our residents, regardless of sexual orientation, to be with their partners in critical moments, and we are taking this important step to assure the rainbow community that they are cared for, recognized and valued in Quezon City,” she adds.
The Quezon City Government will implement the Right to Care program initially at city government hospitals but will soon after conduct orientations and seal partnerships with public or private Quezon City-based hospitals.
The card includes a QR code that will direct the user to an actual and notarized digital version of the SPA document. The provisions of the SPA will indicate the privileges authorized by the cardholders for their respective partners such as choosing a particular physician or health care provider; receive, process, and/or disclose their partner’s personal information including medical records; allow or deny medical treatments, procedures, or any other medical concerns related to their partner’s medical condition.
Belmonte hopes this movement will inspire other cities to pursue LGBTQIA+ rights so that more queer Filipino couples and life partners can enjoy the same benefits as those living in Quezon City. The Quezon City Government will also spearhead succeeding seminars and training for card holders and recipients, as well as conduct promotional campaigns in municipalities.
MullenLowe TREYNA Chief Creative Officer Abi Aquino hopes that this collaboration with the Quezon City Government can help push the conversation for equal rights for the local LGBTQIA+ community. “Our agency has always supported equality for all, which is why we hope this initiative will inspire more creatives to give back to the community and make a difference. We stand stronger when we can uphold one another’s rights,” Aquino said.
This initiative is a brainchild of Senior Art Director Adrian de Guzman, who himself is a proud member of the queer community. “It’s a deeply personal advocacy as well. As an openly gay man – and someone working in the communications industry – I think it’s a must for me to harness this creativity for good because I have a platform” says de Guzman.
The Right to Care Card was launched during Quezon City’s Pride PH festival – the biggest in Asia, attended by approximately 110,000 LGBTQIA+ community members and allies.