April 22, 2024

As part of its advocacy for healthy work settings, the Department of Health-Cordillera has recently signed an HIV and AIDS workplace policy that includes making combinations of prevention strategies that would protect both its employees and clients.

DOH-Cordillera HIV Coordinator Darvin Babon said the HIV workplace policy contains 10 provisions which are based on policies issued by the Civil Service Commission, Department of Labor and Employment, Commission on Human Rights, and the provisions of the HIV/AIDS law.

Among its provisions is integrating information and education on HIV/AIDS in the organization’s onboarding or orientation activities of new employees.

It also emphasizes promotion of an environment that is free from HIV/AIDS-related stigma and discrimination.

“DOH-Cordillera abhors policies and practices that discriminate based on perceived or actual HIV status of its personnel. Hindi po pwedengi-reject ang job application, terminate an employee’s employment, and other discriminatory policies in the hiring process, including revision or denial of employment and other employment-related benefits, promotion, transfer of work assignment of an individual solely or partially based on actual perceived HIV status,” Babon said.

He said DOH-Cordillera will also soon have combinations of prevention strategies such as condoms and lubricants available in its restrooms as part of its policies.

“We included this as a policy because when combinations of preventions strategies such as this are made available in open public places, very few avail of it. This is (an) enabling (policy) for us to help protect not only our employees but also the clients going to our offices,” he said.

Also, among the policies is the institutionalization of the conduct of activities by the DOH-Cordillera such as the World AIDS Day, International AIDS Candlelight Memorial under the gender and development program, which means these activities that have to be celebrated or observed are now part of the direct costs of GAD activities and therefore will have regular funds.

With the signing of the agency’s HIV and AIDS workplace policy led by Regional Director Rio Magpantay, Babon said they intend to make it as a guide for local government units and other government line agencies in crafting their respective HIV workplace policies. – Hanna C. Lacsamana