The Department of Health’s (DOH) office in the Mimaropa region has recorded about 100 HIV-positive cases in Palawan province since the establishment of the Ospital ng Palawan (ONP) – Red Top Center in May 2015.
Half of the cases belonged to the 25-40 age group; 40 percent to the 15-24 age bracket; and 10 percent were 41 years old and above.
“These patients are all enrolled and already undergoing treatment and management at the center. The rise in the number of cases does not necessarily mean that HIV in the province is increasing but it is due to the growing number of people who are now aware of the disease and voluntarily visiting HIV clinics to be tested for them to know their HIV status,” regional health office director Eduardo Janairo said in a news release issued Friday.
The regional health office, the ONP, and other health offices are continuously monitoring the development of the HIV situation in the region, which covers Oriental and Occidental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan, to check the spread of the virus.
A health information drive and other HIV awareness activities are ongoing in various communities, even those in remote areas.
”HIV is everyone’s business and everybody must be properly educated about the virus,” Janairo said.
The ONP-Red Top Center, from Jan. 1 to April 30 this year, has recorded 24 new cases, including a pregnant woman. Six of them did not feel symptoms of the disease.
“These new cases were already given anti-retro viral (ARV) drugs to prevent the spread of the virus inside the body,” Janairo said.
The ONP-Red Top Center, the region’s first HIV/AIDS testing center, offers round-the-clock HIV tests and provides HIV prevention and treatment services, including pre- and post-test counseling.
Mimaropa’s health office now has two HIV/AIDS Satellite Treatment Centers — one at the Occidental Mindoro Provincial Hospital in Mamburao and the ONP-Red Top HIV/AIDS Treatment Center in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan.
According to the March 2017 HIV/AIDS and ART Registry of the Philippines (HARP) report, there are now a total of 968 newly diagnosed cases. This is 32 percent higher compared to the same period last year with 735 cases. It is also the highest monthly figure recorded since 1984.
Mimaropa ranks ninth among the leading provinces with HIV cases, with 3 percent. There has been a 2 percent increase in cases since February.
Metro Manila or the National Capital Region leads with 309 cases (32 percent), followed by CALABARZON with 135 (14 percent); Central Luzon with 107 (11 percent); Central Visayas with 76 cases (8 percent); and Davao region with 52 cases (5 percent). The remaining 289 cases were from the rest of the country.
“HIV still has no cure. No vaccine to prevent the spread of the virus. The only protection is through proper education about HIV and practicing safe sex. It is best to submit yourself for an HIV test to know your HIV status. Testing is free and confidential in all DOH-accredited clinics nationwide,” Janairo said. (DOH-Mimaropa PR)
Troops Disarm MILF Fighters in Maguindanao
Government forces on Tuesday seized high-powered firearms from members of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) for moving around Maguindanao without coordination with local authorities and ceasefire monitors.
According to reports reaching the Army’s 6th Infantry Division based in this camp, heavily armed men on board a mini-cargo truck were seen along a village road in Sultan sa Barongis, Maguindanao.
Soldiers flagged down the vehicle loaded with MILF fighters led by Orly Gampong in Barangay Mileb. The rebels did not resist and peacefully handed over their rifles to elements of the 40th Infantry Battalion.
Under the 1997 government and MILF ceasefire agreement, Moro rebels must coordinate with local military and police authorities when moving from its camps to other areas. The same applies for government forces if it operates in MILF identified areas.
Lt. Col. Gerry Besana, spokesman for the 6th ID-led anti-terror Task Force Central, said Gampong and his armed followers belonged to the MILF’s 106th Base Command.
Besana said the military and police are determining if Gampong’s group was to reinforce its comrades fighting another group of MILF in Abdullah Sangki, Maguindanao.
Fighting had erupted between MILF’s 105th and 106th base command. The seized firearms now in Army custody included 18 M-16 assault rifles, five M-14 assault rifles and an M-203 rifle fitted with a launcher for 40 millimeter grenade projectile.
DepEd Says Senior High School Grads Ready for Work
The Department of Education (DepEd) here assured the public that graduates of the Senior High School (SHS) are “equipped to face the world of work.”
Dr. Lea Belleza, information officer of DepEd Western Visayas, said Tuesday that there are three reasons the Senior High School education system was introduced. She explained that those who can afford can still go to college, or become entrepreneurs given the skills they acquired, or opt to find work.
Graduates of technical and vocational livelihood (TVL) courses are expected to pass the National Competency (NC) assessment of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) so they would be ready to work, Belleza said.
“As to the competency, I assure you that trainings given to our teachers, the provision of instructional materials to our learners and the provision of equipment to our TVL, I firmly believe that we will have the globally competitive graduates for 2018,” she added.
The first batch of Senior High School is expected to graduate April this year.
Meanwhile, Belleza emphasized that graduation rites must be “solemn, simple occasion but meaningful for children.”
She said that their advice is always to observe “austerity measures”, adding, “We don’t want to burden parents of pompous celebration”.
Belleza said that schools have budget for graduation to be taken from the miscellaneous and other operating expenses (MOOE). However, minimal contribution, which should not be imposed on the children, may be accepted, she said.
650 senior citizens in Bacolod receive P1.95-M social pension
Six hundred fifty (650) senior citizens received a total of PHP1.95 million in government social pension from the city government during the turnover rites Monday facilitated by the Department of Social Services and Development (DSSD) here.
Mayor Evelio Leonardia, Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran, and DSSD head Pacita Tero led the distribution to the beneficiaries from various barangays.
Each senior citizen received a total of PHP3,000, or PHP500 each month covering six months.
The age requirement of beneficiaries has been lowered to 60 years with additional funds as provided for by Republic Act No. 9994 or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010.
Originally, only senior citizens aged 77 and above received the pension, but the age was later lowered to 65 and then 60 years old.
An elderly will also qualify as program beneficiary if he or she is sickly, frail and with disability, has no regular source of income, as well as having no financial support from family members and pension from the Social Security System, Government Service Insurance System, and the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office.
DSWD-7 Honors Partner CSOs
Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), media organizations, a parish and a hospital were among the partner institutions who received special awards from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office VII during its recently concluded 67th founding anniversary.
DSWD Undersecretary Florita R. Villar and DSWD-7 Regional Director Ma. Evelyn B. Macapobre presented the plaques of recognition to Justice, Peace, Integrity of Creation Integrated Development Center (JPIC-IDC) and to Pagtambayayong Foundation Incorporated (FPI) for their invaluable support to the Modified Conditional Cash Transfer (MCCT) by providing assistance to the homeless street families, families in need of special protection and indigenous families. Partner CSOs who helped and supported DSWD-run centers and institutions like the Area Vocational Rehabilitation Center (AVRC II), Regional Haven, Reception and Study Center for Children (RSCC) and Home for Girls (HFG) were also honored through the ‘Salamat Po’ award.
Salamat Po awardees were Buddhist Tzu-Chi Foundation Cebu, Cebu Doctor’s University (CDU), GMR Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation, Juanito I. King Foundation (JIKF), Oasis of Love, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), Rotary Club of Cebu West, Verbum Dei Catholic Missionary and Virgen Delos Remedios Parish.
The Social Welfare and Development Learning Network (SWDL-NET) was also given a plaque of recognition for their support in providing accessible, relevant quality social welfare and capacity building program. For the Gawad Ulat award, three media outfits were given the highest recognition for their advancement in the advocacy, promotion, and publicity of the Department’s programs and services.
The awardees were Cebu Daily News (CDN) – Most Supportive Newspaper, DYAB 1512 – Most Supportive Radio Station and Cebu Catholic Television Network (CCTN) Channel 47 – Most Supportive Television Station. Other media partners were also given the ‘Salamat Po’ award namely ABS-CBN, DYHP 612, Sunstar Cebu and The Freeman.
Also awarded during the anniversary celebration were outstanding and long-time DSWD employees through the Program on Awards and Incentives for Service Excellence or ‘PRAISE Awards’.
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