Biliran seeks to give same-sex couples equal access to medical rights, asset sharing

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Tacloban City (CNN Philippines, August 21) — The government of Biliran has expressed its desire to advance the fundamental rights of same-sex couples in the province, particularly in securing equal access to medical rights and asset sharing.

Governor Gerard Roger Espina called a meeting with the Biliran Bisexual and Gay Society JJC Naval Warrior and other officials of the province on Monday to discuss ways to attain this goal.

“Maraming pangyayari sa ating LGBT community na kung naospital ang kanilang long-time partner, hindi makadesisyon ang partner nila sa mga emergency health situation dahil hindi kasal. Ito po ang bibigyan natin ng linaw at solusyon bago matapos ang taon,” Espina explained.

[Translation: It happens often in the LGBT community that when one of them is hospitalized, their partner cannot make decisions when it comes to emergency health situations. We will give clarity and a solution to this before the end of the year.]

Espina added that during the meeting he also proposed to provide a program that will give same-sex couples in the province an option to represent their partners for urgent medical decisions through a signed agreement.

“Once implemented, this will be another innovation from Biliran that will give additional options to our long standing LGBTQIA couples in our communities,” Espina said.

This plan of the provincial government was welcomed by the group who released a statement after the meeting.

“By advocating for equal rights and opportunities for all individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation, you are paving the way for a more inclusive and accepting society,” the group said in their statement.

“Your efforts are instrumental in ensuring that every member of the LGBTQ+ community in Biliran feels valued and respected. We are grateful for your leadership and support in promoting equality and inclusion," they added.

The group also said they hope the provincial government's plan will result in a more accepting environment for same-sex couples “where everyone can love and live freely, without fear and discrimination or prejudice.”