June 21, 2024

An official of the City Health Services Office backed the filing of a proposed ordinance authorizing the creation of an HIV/AIDS Coordinating Council in order to intensify the city’s programs on HIV and AIDS.
One of the objectives of the ordinance proposed by councilors Joel Alangsab and Levy Lloyd Orcales, is to create the Baguio City AIDS Coordinating Council (BCACC) tasked to unify the local government of Baguio, civil society organizations (CSO), faith-based, youth, women organizations, the academe, and the business sector in the effort to promote healthy and non-risky sexual behaviors and work for the prevention of HIV and AIDS in the city. 
At the city council’s session last Jan. 10, Asst. City Health Officer Celia Flor Brillantes said the Reproductive Health and Wellness Center (RHWC) under the CHSO only has three personnel and cannot keep up with all the workload.
She said having an HIV and AIDS coordinating council will create a network that will unify the city government with the different sectors in order to effectively combat the rise of HIV and AIDS cases in the city. 
Through the coordinating council, the RHWC will be able to consolidate all the HIV and AIDS data in the city from the different medical institutions. The consolidated data will, in turn, help the RHWC to adequately determine the prevalence of HIV and AIDS in the city.
“We need to put all our resources together to be able to fight HIV and AIDS. If we could not get help from outside the city government, our HIV/AIDS program would collapse. Consequently, we would see a lot of cases coming in and out of our RHWC,” Brillantes said, emphasizing that HIV and AIDS does not only affect the community, but also affects socio-cultural and economic conditions thus the need for a coordinating council composed of members from various agencies, offices, and organizations. 
In the proposed ordinance, primary functions of the coordinating council are providing policy recommendations to the city council for the effective and efficient implementation of prevention programs and engaging in advocacy work geared towards the promotion of educational activities for the prevention of sexually transmitted infections, HIV, and AIDS in the city.
Other proposed services, programs, and activities are the conduct of awareness seminars; creation of education modules to be distributed to schools, workplaces, and barangays; availability and accessibility of prophylactics at the CHSO; workplace policy and education program; designation of HIV and AIDS safe spaces in entertainment establishments; annual AIDS candle lighting ceremony; voluntary HIV testing; compilation of roster of entertainers/employees working in entertainment establishments/social/community mobilization; monitoring programs; and declaration of AIDS Awareness Month, among others.
The proposed ordinance also seeks to mandate operators, managers, and employees of entertainment establishments to attend seminars on HIV and AIDS prevention. Attendance to these seminars shall be a prerequisite for the issuance/renewal of an entertainment establishment’s permit to operate. 
Another component of the proposed measure is the protection of the rights of people living with HIV. The referral system of the Department of Social Welfare and Development and network shall be adopted to eliminate HIV-related stigma and discrimination and promote confidentiality. – Jordan G. Habbiling