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HIV-infected sex workers on the prowl in Quezon City


Hot-blooded men, beware!

Five sex workers infected with HIV continue to ply their trade in Quezon City, believed to be a hub for cheap sex.

Maria Paz Ugalde, the city’s health officer, told the Senate Committee on Labor on Friday that the five women who tested positive for the AIDS-causing virus have not reported back to her office since they were found out.

She warned that the women might already have infected unprotected customers.

However, Ugalde declined to identify the women because the law provides for confidentiality until the patients themselves come out in the open.

She also told the committee that there has been a 10-percent increase in sexually transmitted disease among sex workers in Quezon City in the last two years.

Ugalde said the nonappearance of the five women at her office is a cause of worry, although she underscored that the women were thoroughly briefed on their health condition.

She acknowledged that the women could infect their customers even when the number of men procuring the services of fun girls is on the decline.

But while Ugalde painted a stark picture of Quezon City after dark, owners of bars in the area are insisting that sex is not being peddled in their establishments. They also denied that their bars feature nude shows and other forms entertainment that some may deem indecent.

However, Ugalde said that the increase in sexually transmitted diseases (STD) in Quezon City cannot be blamed wholly on the girlie clubs. “[Men can get them] from massage parlors and the freelance sex workers plying Quezon Avenue and even Quezon Memorial Circle,” she explained, noting that a number of women afflicted with STD are minors.

At the same hearing, a tabloid editor, Erny Baluyot of Saksi, submitted to the committee photographs of lesbianism allegedly taken inside the Metamorphosis nightclub on Timog Avenue.

The club owner, Anna Liza Magno, denied that the photographs were taken inside Metamorphosis. She said that the one who took the photographs, Alex Mendoza, was a former floor manager whom she fired.

Magno underscored the inconsistencies in the evidence presented against Metamorphosis; for instance, she said, Saksi claimed that a spy camera took the photograph, but Mendoza told the committee that he used a regular camera.

None of the nightclub owners from Quezon City and Parañaque, including two owners of gay bars, admitted presenting indecent shows or employing minors.

Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, who heads the committee, said the hearing was the last in the series that investigated how female escorts ply their trade.

“I see the need to amend the law on the employment of minors,” he said, dismissing claims of nightclub owners that they are not employing minors.

Estrada said that many of the guest relations officers fake their birth certificates to indicate that they are at least 18 years old.


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