“The Administration’s commitment to the Philippine HIV and AIDS Policy Act will go beyond the passage and signing of the law, as the concerned government agencies will be properly mobilized so that the measure’s objectives are achieved.”

This was the assurance given by Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles on Monday after the Palace announced last week that President Rodrigo Duterte has signed Republic Act (RA) 11166, or the Philippine HIV and AIDS Policy Act (PHAPA), on Dec. 20, 2018.

Nograles was one of the co-authors of the measure passed by the House of Representatives before he was appointed by the President to the Cabinet last November.

“Government is focused on taking concrete steps to arrest the upward trajectory of HIV cases in the country.”

The funding requirements of the said measure were also approved during Nograles’ tenure as Chair of the House Committee on Appropriations.

“Government is focused on taking concrete steps to arrest the upward trajectory of HIV cases in the country,” Nograles said.

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a lentivirus that causes the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) over time.

“With cases more than doubling between 2010 and 2016––and the numbers continuing to rise––the Administration recognizes that this is a public health concern that we must immediately and decisively address,” said Nograles.

Department of Health (DOH) statistics reveal that the Philippines had the fastest-rising HIV/AIDS numbers in the Asia-Pacific region from 2010 to 2016. Per a Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) Report, new HIV cases among Filipinos more than doubled from 4,300 in 2010 to 10,500 in 2016.

“Our country is one of only nine countries in the world with an increase in HIV incidence greater than 25 percent. The enactment of the law, which strengthens the Philippine National AIDS Council (PNAC), is a positive development that will hopefully reverse this trend,” said Nograles.

The PNAC was established by the Philippine AIDS Prevention and Control Act of 1998. Under Section 4 of the new law, the PNAC was reconstituted, strengthened, and streamlined to “ensure the implementation of the country’s response to the HIV and AIDS situation.”

“The enactment of the law, which strengthens the Philippine National AIDS Council (PNAC), is a positive development.”

Under PHAPA, the PNAC will be an attached agency of the Department of Health (DOH) with its own budget, secretariat, and staff. It will be headed by an executive director that will manage the office’s day-to-day operations.

The PNAC is composed of representatives from the following government agencies: the DOH, the Department of Education, the Department of Labor and Employment, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Department of Interior and Local Government, the Civil Service Commission, the National Youth Commission, the Philippine Information Agency, the Department of Budget and Management, and the Chairperson of the House Committee on Health.

Representatives of the following CSOs will also sit on the PNAC, namely organzations of persons living with HIV, private organizations with expertise in standard setting and service delivery, and non-government organizations working for the welfare of identified key populations.

The DOH Secretary is the permanent chairperson of the PNAC, with the vice chairperson elected from the representatives of government agencies.

Among the functions of the PNAC are: (1) develop the AIDS Medium Term Plan (AMTP) in collaboration with relevant government agencies, CSOs, and persons living with HIV communities; (2) ensure the operationalization and implementation of the AMTP; (3) strengthen the collaboration between government government agencies and CSOs involved in the implementation of the national HIV and AIDS response, including the delivery of HIV and AIDS related services; (4) monitor the implementation of the AMTP and the progress of the country’s HIV and AIDS situation; and (5) mobilize and source financial resources for the AMTP.

 

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