Guevarra issues order on non-discrimination, privacy of DOJ personnel with HIV, AIDS

Published June 4, 2021, 1:29 PM

by Jeffrey Damicog

Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra (2)

Justice Secretary Menardo I. Guevarra has issued an order to assure the privacy and non-discrimination against Department of Justice (DOJ) personnel who have human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

Guevarra said he signed last May 16 Department Order (DO) No. 107 on the Guidelines on the Workplace Policy and Education Program on HIV and AIDS.

“This was issued in compliance with RA (Republic Act) 11166, otherwise known as the ‘Philippine HIV and AIDS Policy Act,’ requiring all government agencies to adopt their respective workplace policy,” he said.

“The DOJ guidelines pertain to information dissemination, non-discriminatory practices, confidentiality and privacy, work arrangements, diagnosis and treatment, and responsibilities of the department pertaining to HIV and AIDS in the workplace,” he added.

Among its provisions, the DO mandated the creation of an HIV/AIDS Committee which will investigate and impose sanctions against those violating the DOJ policies set in the order.

“The administrative investigation may be initiated by the HIV/AIDS Committee motu proprio (on its own initiative) or upon a written complaint by any personnel against whom the discriminatory act complained of was committed or whose right to privacy of confidential information was violated,” the DO stated.

The committee will submit to the DOJ secretary its report 15 days after the respondent accused of the violation has submitted his or her reply to the accusations or from the lapse of the period the respondent should have filed his or her answer.

“Within 30 days from receipt of the Investigation Report, the Secretary may either approve, modify, or reverse the Resolution, which shall be final and immediately executory,” the DO also stated.

Penalties for violations of the DO ranges from one month and one day to six months suspension depending on the gravity of the offense.

Dismissal from the service awaits those who will violate the DO for the second time.