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Baguio AWAC, partners renew commitment in the fight against HIV/AIDS

BAGUIO CITY (PIA) - - The City Government through the City Health Services Office and Baguio AIDS Watch Council, along with other private partners renew their commitment in the fight against HIV/AIDS and in helping People Living with HIV (PLHIV) get the needed health services and other support so they can live as  regular members of the community.

Mayor Benjamin Magalong,  the  Chairperson of the Baguio AWAC, led other city officials and partners from the other sectors of society in commemoration  of the 2023 International AIDS Candlelight Memorial with  offering of prayers and candles in simple program at the City Hall Multi – purpose hall, Tuesday (May 30).

For this year, the observance adopts the theme, “Spread Love and Solidarity to Build Stronger Communities”.

Owners and workers from the different night establishments under the Baguio Association of Night Spots (BANS) also showed their support and joined the HIV/AIDS candle lighting program.

Baguio City officials headed by Mayor Benjamin Magalong lead other AWAC members and partners in the offering of candles. (CCD/PIA CAR)

Acting City Health Officer Dr. Celiaflor Brillantes welcomed and expressed gratitude  to all the officials and participants, as their presence and support will forever beat to the hearts of people living with HIV (PLHIV).

Magalong   thanked  all the city government’s partners in the continuing fight to prevent further HIV/AIDS infection and in erasing the stigma and promote compassion for people living with HIV.

“It is an honor and a duty to stand before you, united in our shared determination to end the stigma and devastation caused by this disease”, he said.

“In the face of adversity, we have shown resilience. We have come a long way since the early days of this epidemic, when fear and ignorance prevailed. Together, we have  pushed back against discrimination and prejudice, advocating for compassion, understanding and access to health care for all those affected”;

“Today, as these candles flicker, let them symbolize not only the lives lost but also the hope that burns within us. Let them remind us that our progress is not measured solely by the number of lives saved but by the compassion we show, the lives we touch, and the communities we build,” Magalong stressed.

Mayor Benjamin Magalong expresses gratitude to all the participants for their support in the candlelight ceremony and calls for continuing partnership in HIV/AIDS prevention advocacy and in helping PLHIV in terms of their medical and social needs, as well as in pushing for a "no stigma and no discrimination society" for them. (CCD/PIA CAR)

 Councilor Betty Lourdes Tabanda, the City Council Committee for Health Chairperson, also reminded that the candlelight ceremony is also the appropriate time to renew the commitment of the city as embodied in the Ordinance 16 Series of 2022, especially the formulation and implementation of a long – term local HIV/AIDS prevention and control program.

Focus should also be given to  the provision of medical and social assistance to PLHIVs, provision of gender – sensitive information and education, upholding the PLHIVs’ human dignity by ensuring that there are no stigma and no discrimination – for them to live as a regular member of our community, Tabanda added.

HIV/AIDS remains to be among the major health concerns in the country especially among younger working age group. Department of Health data show  55 new HIV cases are  being recorded per day.

The International AIDS Candlelight Memorial  is a global event that aims to honor those who dedicated their lives to helping people living with and affected by HIV and to continue mobilize communities in solidarity. (JDP/CCD-PIA CAR)

Baguio AWAC members and partners offering their prayers and candles. (CCD/PIA CAR)

About the Author

Carlito Dar


Cordillera Administrative Region

Information Officer II at PIA Cordillera

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