Quezon City launches ‘Right to Care’ card for LGBTQIA+ couples

Janvic Mateo - The Philippine Star
Quezon City launches �Right to Care� card for LGBTQIA+ couples
Hundreds of members of the LGBTQIA+ community take part in a parade along East Avenue in Quezon City yesterday to celebrate Pride Month. Inset shows Mayor Joy Belmonte showing a ‘Right to Care’ card for resident queer couples during the card’s launch at the Quezon Memorial Circle.
Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — As part of this year’s Pride celebration, the Quezon City government yesterday launched an initiative that will allow resident queer couples to make medical decisions for their partners.

The “Right to Care” card, made operational through a special power of attorney (SPA), will recognize the decision of the cardholders to agree, refuse or withdraw consent to any type of medical care for their partners, including treatment, procedures, tests and prescriptions.

“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 said.

“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 added.

The mayor highlighted the importance of the initiative in recognizing the life-long commitment and right to care of LGBTQIA+ members to their partners.

Currently, hospitals and medical facilities only recognize decisions from legal spouses or next of kin, which excludes same-sex couples from making important medical decisions for their partners.

The “Right to Care” card was launched in time for the annual Pride celebration. It includes a QR code that will direct the user to an actual and notarized digital version of the SPA document.

Provisions include the privileges authorized by the cardholders for their respective partners, such as choosing a particular physician or health care provider, including admission or discharge from medical facilities.

They will also be allowed to receive, process and disclose their partner’s personal information and allow or deny medical treatments, procedures or any other medical concerns related to their partner’s medical condition.

The initiative was conceived by MullenLowe TREYNA, a creative communications agency.

According to the city government, the initiated will be initially implemented at the Quezon City General Hospital, Novaliches District Hospital and Rosario Maclang Bautista General Hospital, which are all operated by the local government.

The city plans to conduct orientations and seal partnerships with other public or private Quezon City-based hospitals.

Interested LGBTQIA+ couples can register with the city’s gender and development (GAD) office, where they will be asked to fill out forms, including the SPA contract.

Upon submission of the notarized forms, the city legal team will validate the data provided. Once validated, the GAD office shall distribute physical cards with unique QR codes to access the digital copy of their validated SPA contract.

Registered individuals will also be required to attend seminars that will discuss in detail all the rights and benefits that come with the card.

Belmonte expressed hope that the initiative will inspire other cities to pursue more programs for the LGBTQIA+ community.

Also yesterday, thousands attended the Pride Festival at the Quezon Memorial Circle. The one-day event included three major activities, including the Pride Expo, Pride March and Pride Night.

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