Awra Briguela wants to break stigma of HIV-positive individuals
MANILA, Philippines — With the hopes to break the stigma against them, young actor Awra Briguela bravely takes on the role of an HIV-positive individual in iWant series “Mga Batang Poz.”
“Gusto kong ma-stop na ‘yung stigma na nagpapalala ng karamdaman nila (HIV-positive individuals) or ng kalagayan nila. Kasi yung stigma, nanggagaling yan sa mga taong mapanghusga at judgmental na sobrang nagpapahirap nung mga taong may sakit na HIV,” Briguela said Wednesday on the sides of “Mga Batang Poz” press conference.
Photo courtesy of iWant
The 15-year-old actor also called on the people to refer to HIV-positive individuals as “patients” instead of “victims.”
“At sana ma-stop na rin natin yung pagtawag sa mga HIV-positive na victims kasi hindi sila victims. Patients sila,” he said.
Briguela plays the role of Chuchay, a 15-year-old-year-old boy who grew up in a poor household and resorts to using sex to earn a living.
While he knew the character required a lot from him as an actor, Briguela braved the challenge to stand up for his fellow members of the LGTBQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) community.
“Nung nalaman ko pong may mga eksenang hindi pang-age ko, syempre po nagulat ako. Pero I really challenged myself po nung nalaman kong advocacy siya tapos about HIV siya,” Briguela said.
“As a part of LGBTQ [community], parang kailangan kong tumayo para sa mga bakla na batang katulad ko para maging aware na sila at para hindi na sila magkaroon ng sakit na ‘to,” he added.
Director Chris Martinez shared they had a child psychologist during the set of the series to “brief and debrief” Briguela after shooting sensitive scenes.
“Si Awra kasi, he’s only 15. So nung shoot, meron kaming child psychologist to brief him and to debrief him sa mga eksena na very very sensitive,” he said.
Martinez also admitted he already had Briguela in mind to play Chuchay while he was reading Segundo “Jun” Matias Jr.’s novel “Mga Batang Poz” to which the online series was based on.
“Nung binasa ko talaga ‘yung libro ni Jun Matias doon sa role na Chuchay, si Awra talaga yung naisip ko. ‘Di pwedeng hindi si Awra ‘to, si Awra ‘to e.’ So we’re very thankful na pumayag siya and nagtiwala sa amin,” he said.
Matias likewise admitted he had Briguela as Chuchay in mind while he was still writing “Mga Batang Poz”: “Parehas kami ni Direk. When I was writing it, it was Awra.”
“Mga Batang Poz,” which also stars Mark Nuemann, Fino Herrera and Paolo Gumabao, will be available for streaming via iWant starting Friday, July 26.
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