Tuguegarao City - The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), and Social Welfare and Development in Cagayan Valley region jointly held a two-day ‘Orientation-Workshop on HIV and AIDS’ for the local youth leaders.
The activity, which is one of a series of activities targeted for implementation this year by the Regional AIDS Assistance team (RAAT) composed of the DILG, DOH and DSWD, was held on February 27-28, 2013 at Hotel Kimikarlai here.
In attendance were 72 Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) City/Municipal Federation Presidents or their duty authorized representatives. They came from the mainland provinces of Cagayan, Isabela, Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino.
In his message, DILG regional director Rolando L. Rafael said the activity was in accordance with Republic Act 8504, otherwise known as the Philippines AIDS Prevention and Control Act of 1998. The law, enacted during the Ramos Administration, provides for the promotion of public awareness about the dreaded Human Immuno-deficiency Virus (HIV) and acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) through massive information and education campaign.
Rafael urged the participants to play the curial role as HIV and AIDS champions or advocates, As such, they are expected to help facilitate local response to prevent the spread of the disease by developing and implementing appropriate programs and projects to promote the welfare of the youth in their communities.
The youth, according to health authorities and recent studies, are at high risk of contracting HIV due to their risky practices and behavior and low level of knowledge. Also vulnerable to the disease are men-having-sex-with-men (MSM), heterosexuals, commercial sex workers or the so-called people in prostitution (PIP) and injecting-drug users (IDUs)
In their respective messages, both DOH RD Rio L. Magpantay and DSWD RD Violeta A. Cruz exhorted the participants to keep on learning and sharing with their peers vital information about control of HIV and AIDS and to continue joining the fight against the disease “because it kills.”
A PLIV or person-living-with-HIV (name withheld) gave a testimony purposely to discourage the participants from engaging in risky practices so as not to acquire HIV, AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.
The activity culminated with a workshop on the preparation of the SK Roadmap (Action Plan) for HIV and AIDS. This was facilitated by LGOO V Elsbeth T. Maralli, DILG Regional RAAT Focal Person. - Vincent G. Dela Rosa