Philippines health official criticised for suggesting “homosexual children” be “reined in”

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The Philippines Health Secretary has been criticised after saying at an AIDS conference that parents of gay children should be surveyed and warned about their children’s behaviour.

Enrique Ona said parents “should rein in their homosexual children and get them tested”.

He made the remark during a speech on voluntary testing for high risk demographics.

Marlon Lacsamana, the founder of the Philippines LGBT Hate Crime Watch told Samar News: “Bigots do not deserve high government posts, and more so he should not serve as a chair of the Philippine National AIDS Council if we do not want his unscientific biases to taint the good work of our unsung AIDS preventions heroes nationwide.”

Oscar Atadero, human rights officer of the Progressive Organization of Gays in the Philippines (ProGay) objected to Ona’s comments following World AIDS Day last week, with its theme of “Getting to Zero”.

He said: “Instead of achieving zero deaths, suggesting that gays, bisexuals and transgenders get tested en masse will achieve zero access, zero treatment and zero saved lives.

“It feels like gays, bisexuals and transgender being given a marching order to file into gas ovens in Europe during the time of Hitler”.

Last year, a gay political party was allowed to form in the Philippines for the first time.

A court said: “We hold that moral disapproval, without more, is not a sufficient governmental interest to justify exclusion of homosexuals from participation in the party-list system.

“The denial of Ang Ladlad’s registration on purely moral grounds amounts more to a statement of dislike and disapproval of homosexuals, rather than a tool to further any substantial public interest.”

While being gay is not criminalised in Philippines, sexual conduct or affection that occurs in public may be subject to the country’s “grave scandal” laws.