08 March 2011

OUTRAGE- Pinoy HIV Pos Artist Banned

Cavestany was blacklisted by the Bureau of Immigration (BI) for being HIV positive.

He arrived last March 6 at 9:30 p.m. from Darwin, Australia but was accosted by immigration agents who disallowed him from exiting the terminal.

Cavestany was shown the blacklist order, which specified that he should not be allowed entry as he will spread HIV.

He decried being treated "like a criminal" and for not being informed about the order.

The immigration order was issued on March 10, 2010 by then Commissioner Marcelino Libanan as requested by the office of Malou Jacob of the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA).

Cavestany said the request of the NCCA is purely a case of harassment.

He said he previously got into a fight with Susan Claudio, a staff of the NCCA, which may have prompted NCCA's request for the blacklist order.

Cavestany, a former Filipino citizen, flew to the Philippines for a business trip as he was invited to do a film and write a book about HIV.

A staunch advocate against HIV, Cavestany helps educate the public about the bad effects of AIDS.

Cavestany is active in theater, having been Artistic Director of Dulaang Bayan and founder of Philippine Education Theatre Arts League Sydney (PETALS).

In 2005, he staged the one-man play "Peregrination: Unzipped, Unmasked, Unbound."

He also acted in the films "A Dangerous Life" (1988) and "The Great Raid" (2005).

Cavestany challenged the immigration bureau to lift the ban as it shows discrimination and violation of human rights.

He is contemplating on filing charges against the immigration officers who accosted him.

--With report from Alex Santos, ABS-CBN News hiv-positive-artist-denied-entry

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