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Philippine battle against HIV/AIDS is getting nowhere – TUCP

By TUCP-Nagkaisa
May 15, 2015

QUEZON CITY – The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines-Nagkaisa (TUCP-Nagkaisa) do not see any solution amid the frayed attempts of government and civil society groups to combat the worsening HIV/AIDS phenomenon in the country.

“I am saddened to admit this but we have no working, unified national strategy to battle HIV/AIDS to begin with. What we do have are fighting spirit, will and determination to wage the battle against it. What we have is noise but that noise is thin air – it has no impact, no efficiency,” said Alan Tanjusay, national spokesperson of the TUCP-Nagkaisa.

The labor group is part of various civil society organizations comprising the country’s highest policy-making body on HIV/AIDS, the Philippine National Council on AIDS (PNAC) with the Department of Health (DOH) as lead and chair.

In the monthly surveillance report of the Epidemiology Bureau of the Department of Health (DOH) released on May 10 showed 667 individuals contracted HIV in March this year compared to 646 in February bringing to an average alarming rate of 21 persons diagnosed with the HIV infection per day.

In 2008, the bureau monitored only 1 infection every day, 4 in 2010, 9 in 2012, and 17 in 2014.

“The PNAC was envisioned to wage a multi-pronged tactical battle against the virus and the disease including the cultural discrimination, prejudices and misconceptions about the phenomenon. Yet after scouting the terrain, knowing the enemy and drawing up action how to wage it, we just stood there watch the enemy do its thing,” Tanjusay said.

Created in 1992 by executive order 39, the PNAC is the central advisory, planning and policy-making body on the prevention and control of HIV and AIDS in the country. TUCP is one of the 26 member-council from government, civil society and organizations of people living with HIV.

“The PNAC cannot go dynamic because it is challenged by the many government bureaucratic taboos. It has no real budget to finance its own HIV and AIDS plans and programs. While PNAC is currently being overhauled, it has been dormant in achieving its full potential and inert in creating results. Meanwhile, the HIV/AIDS is spreading and growing all over the country,” Tanjusay said.