PIA News Service - Wednesday, June 3, 2009

“No confirmed A(H1N1) case in the region,” says DOH

BUTUAN CITY (June 3) – “There are no confirmed cases of A(H1N1) infection in the region.” Dr. Gerna Manatad of the Department of Health – Caraga assures members of the Regional Law Enforcement Coordination Committee (RLECC) during its monthly meeting, here recently.

The assurance came amidst clamor over A(H1N1), following reports of a possible infection in the region. Recently, one foreigner and 2 balikbayan Pinays were suspected to be infected of A(H1N1) virus after exhibiting flu-like symptoms.

As of press time, suspected infected persons have been tested negative.

To keep the region swine flu free, there is strict surveillance and monitoring in all exit and entry points in the region. Health teams that would test and interview incoming guests and tourists are also put up in seaports, airports and bus terminals.

Barangay Health Response Teams (BHERTS) are also activated to monitor tourists in their locality. The BHERTS are instructed to keep watch of the tourists in their locality and to immediately report to DOH flu-like symptoms in the area.

PSupt. Ramon Espiritu also instructed the chief of the Aviation Security Group to assists the health teams in the airports.

“The police officer assign in the airport should see to it that disembarking passengers follow the quarantine procedures. You help DOH by instructing the passengers where to go and what to do. You can use a megaphone to do that,” says Col. Espiritu.

Espiritu stressed that police presence other than maintain peace and order could also help compel tourists to submit to the monitoring requirements of the health teams. (Lovely Laudette Gamba, PIA-Caraga)



Public School students receive notebooks under “Read Right and be Bright” program

BUTUAN CITY (June 3) –Grade 3 pupils from Butuan Central Elementary School and Ong Yiu Central Elementary School was the first to received notebooks from Vice Mayor Dino Claudio Sanchez in a simple ceremony held today in their respective schools.

This is under the Vice Mayor’s learning advocacy program dubbed as “Read Right and be Bright,” to encourage students from Grades 1 to 3 to develop a very good habit of reading.

Each notebooks has a story about “The Ant and the Grasshopper” printed at the back in its effort to inculcate to the young minds the necessity to prepare ahead and to build up an understanding on life’s lesson and good attitude.

“This is our second year of implementation of the Read Right and be Bright Program with a total allocation of 15,000 notebooks for this year, to be distributed to 102 elementary schools in Butuan City”, said Vice Mayor Dino Claudio Sanchez.

The Vice Mayor also belied accusations that the initiative was politically motivated as 2010 elections are fast approaching.

He explained, that even during the time that he is the Chairman of the Sangguniang Panlunsod Committee on Education, he already had this advocacy and remained consistent in implementing learning interventions giving priority to indigent school children in public schools for the past 7 years.


The Vice mayor added, “Instead of criticizing the program, the learning advocacy program should be supported.” (Jocelyn E. Morano, Radyo ng Bayan)

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AIDS advocates alarmed over HIV surge, urges both houses of congress and MalacaƱang to pass the RH Bill

The number of Filipinos diagnosed with HIV unprecedented rose, in 2009 the monthly average is now 60 a month. The statistics would show that it rose almost four times compared to the yearly statistics of 1999, from January to April 2009, 237 were diagnosed to be living with HIV compared to last years’ accumulated data of the same time which was 177.

Girls, Women, and HIV & AIDS Network (GWHAN) cited this worsening problem as they called for the immediate passage of the RH bill recognizing also that most of those diagnosed (68%) in 2009 are in their most productive years (20-39 y/o), it should also be noted that 17% of the recorded HIV positives are OFWs and more of those being recorded is coming from the general population specially the youth. This was recorded by the National Epidemiology Center (NEC).

"This alarming data supports the call for the immediate passage of the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill now being deliberated in both the Houses of Congress. Moreover, the widespread disinformation, misinformation about and increased demonizing of the condom such as information that some condoms are now infected with the HIV virus must be disproved with accurate data" said Marlon T. Lacsamana Program Officer of the Institute for Social Studies and Action (ISSA), GWHAN’s network chair.

GWHAN members agreed during their May 29, 2009 general assembly meeting that as pioneers and leaders of the HIV advocacy, to register their support for the passage of the Reproductive Health Bill (HB 5043 & SB 3122) and to steadfastly stand behind organized groups and networks advocating its immediate passage. The RH Bill if passed into law would serve as an enforcer of the RA 8504 or the "AIDS Prevention and Control Act of 1988" where it mandates DepED, TESDA and CHED in Article 1 SECTION 4 in utilizing official information provided by the Department of Health, and shall integrate instruction on the causes, modes of transmission and ways of preventing HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases in subjects taught in public and private schools at intermediate grades, secondary and tertiary levels, including non-formal and indigenous learning systems: Provided, that if the integration of HIV/AIDS education is not appropriate or feasible, the DECS and TESDA shall design special modules on HIV/AIDS prevention and control.

Reproductive health which includes HIV prevention and care & support as one of its key elements is a right upheld in various international documents to which the Philippines is a signatory, notably the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), 1994 UN International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), Beijing Platform for Action, 2001 United Nations Special Session on AIDS (UNGASS), 1st & 2nd Regional Consultative Meeting on Universal Access to HIV Prevention and AIDS Treatment, Care and Support in Low Prevalence Countries.

Girls, Women and HIV & AIDS Network (GHAN) is a multi-sectoral body composed of 21 government and non-government organizations including those of the positive community that integrate gender issues with HIV & AIDS advocacy. (Vigie Benosa-Llorin, Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development Foundation, Inc.)