IBP: Public health and safety reason enough to lift confidentiality law

Published April 14, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Marjaleen Ramos

Public health and safety could be the basis to lift the confidentiality law, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) said Tuesday.

Integrated Bar of the Philippines (MANILA BULLETIN)
Integrated Bar of the Philippines (MANILA BULLETIN)

“The information that is necessary for the government to contain the pandemic would be reasonable,” IBP President Atty. Domingo Cayosa said in an interview with ANC Headstart.

“Under the existing laws, the Department of Health (DOH) and its local counterparts can use that information to the extent that is necessary and proportionate to the demands of public health and safety,” he added.

Names and addresses may be released as it may be deemed necessary for the purpose of halting the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), Cayosa said.

“There are exceptions to right of privacy and confidentiality of medical records. It is not absolute,” he said.

The arising stigma or misplaced fears of the people, does not change the law, the lawyer added.

“The best way to address those stigma is to properly educate our countrymen — that it’s not a sin, not a crime, not a stigma to be infected of COVID-19,” Cayosa said.

As a matter fact, it’s the other way around, we should extend understanding, support to this people,” he continued.

On Monday, the Macalañang said the health department will have to harmonize Republic Act (RA) 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and RA 10173 or the Data Privacy Act to ensure the protection of the obtained information and to prevent stigma against COVID-19 patients.

Under the Data Privacy Act, a person’s health condition is classified as sensitive personal information that can only be used with the consent of the person or patient.