Category Archives: Social Responsibility

The Status of HIV/AIDS in the Philippines

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) are serious public health concerns globally, and the Philippines is no exception. In recent years, the country has seen an increase in the number of reported cases of HIV/AIDS, which highlights the need for continued education, prevention efforts, and access to care for those living with the virus.

Based on the December 2022 HIV/AIDS Registry of the Philippines report, there were a total of 14,970 new HIV cases detected between January and December 2022. The 2022 figure is 2,631 cases higher than the 12,339 cases recorded in 2021, according to the Department of Health.

The primary mode of HIV transmission in the Philippines is through sexual contact, particularly among men who have sex with men (MSM). The country also reports a high number of new infections among female sex workers, who are particularly vulnerable to the virus. However, there has been a significant increase in the number of cases among women in recent years, with heterosexual transmission becoming a more common mode of transmission.

To address the growing HIV epidemic in the Philippines, the government has taken several measures to increase access to HIV testing and counseling services, antiretroviral therapy (ART), and other essential health services. The Department of Health (DOH) has established a national HIV/AIDS and ART registry, which provides real-time monitoring and tracking of the HIV/AIDS epidemic and ART coverage.

The DOH also provides free HIV testing and counseling services at selected health facilities and community-based organizations throughout the country. Additionally, the government has implemented a comprehensive program to provide ART to those living with HIV, which includes the distribution of antiretroviral drugs and the strengthening of health systems to support the delivery of quality care.

In addition to the efforts of the government, non-governmental organizations and civil society groups have also played an important role in addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the Philippines. These organizations provide a range of services, including HIV testing and counseling, ART, and support for people living with HIV/AIDS. They also work to raise awareness about the virus, reduce stigma and discrimination, and provide education on HIV prevention and care.

Despite the efforts of the government and civil society, the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the Philippines continues to face several challenges. One of the main challenges is a lack of access to quality HIV testing and counseling services, particularly in rural and remote areas. This is due to a shortage of health workers, inadequate funding for health programs, and limited infrastructure for delivering health services.

Another major challenge is stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS, which can prevent them from accessing essential health services and support. This is particularly true for key populations, such as MSM, female sex workers, and people who inject drugs, who often face discrimination and marginalization from society.

To effectively address the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the Philippines, it is crucial to continue to raise awareness about the virus, promote HIV testing and counseling, and provide access to ART and other essential health services. It is also important to reduce stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS and to empower key populations to access the care and support they need.

Editorial Cartoon by NVTorrecampo for People’s Tonight

In addition to the efforts outlined above, the Philippines government has also taken steps to address the root causes of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. For example, they have launched campaigns to promote safe sexual practices, such as the consistent and correct use of condoms, as well as education on pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), a medication that can be taken to reduce the risk of HIV infection.

Furthermore, the Philippines has also made efforts to increase access to harm reduction services for people who inject drugs, including the provision of clean needles and syringes, opioid substitution therapy, and overdose prevention services. These services play an important role in reducing the risk of HIV transmission among people who inject drugs, who are one of the most vulnerable populations in the country.

The government and civil society organizations have also made efforts to address the social determinants of health, such as poverty, lack of education, and gender-based violence, which can increase the risk of HIV infection and limit access to care for people living with HIV/AIDS.

In recent years, there has been a growing recognition of the importance of human rights and legal protection for people living with HIV/AIDS in the Philippines. This includes efforts to reduce stigma and discrimination against people living with the virus, as well as to improve access to justice for those who experience human rights abuses, such as employment discrimination and denial of healthcare services.

In conclusion, the Philippines faces a complex and growing HIV/AIDS epidemic, which requires a comprehensive and coordinated response from all sectors of society. To effectively address the epidemic, it is crucial to continue to increase access to quality HIV testing and counseling, ART, and other essential health services. It is also important to reduce stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS, to empower key populations to access the care and support they need, and to address the root causes of the epidemic, such as poverty, lack of education, and gender-based violence. Only by working together can the Philippines successfully address the HIV/AIDS epidemic and ensure that people living with the virus have access to the care and support they need to lead healthy and fulfilling lives. MVT

Fully Vaccinated

Are you one of those who took the available vaccine in your locality? Congratulations! You did a great job in protecting yourself and the people around you. Covid19 vaccine provides an extra layer of protection in the absence of Covid19 medicine.

Taken at a vaccination site inside a mall in Quezon City

Besides the administration of the Covid19 vaccine, people are encouraged to observe the minimum health protocol: such as the washing of hands; wearing of face mask; and social distancing when you are in a public place.

At home, our family practices the minimum health protocol. We wear face masks when we are a little under the weather. We don’t know what afflicts us, so we wear a face mask to be safe. We don’t eat together. And we sleep in separate rooms.

Taken inside a public school in Quezon City

Hubby, myself, and our daughter are fully vaccinated. Our son will have his second dose on the 26th. I’m glad that we were allowed to get the vaccine at the right time. Many still await their vaccine schedule in our area.

Three of us belong to the A3 category, so we must be vaccinated to avoid possible hospitalization due to severe Covid19.

Get the available Covid19 vaccine if you are not vaccinated yet. Protect yourself, the people you care about, and those you meet outside your homes.

Children Expose the Harms of Tobacco Using Art

Twelve Filipino child artists were awarded on Thursday by children’s rights groups in a poster-making competition aimed to demonstrate the dangers of tobacco companies and their products. 

The competition ‘Sigarilyo: Panganib sa Bayan Ko’ (‘Cigarettes: Danger to My Nation’) was launched by Child Rights Network (CRN) Philippines, Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development (PLCPD), Gitib, Inc., and ImagineLaw this August. The said competition received more than 200 entries from age groups 10-14 years old and 15-17 years old for both digital and traditional poster-making categories. 

‘Paralyzing Addiction’ by 12-year-old Kaye Sarmiento of Cavite wins first place in a digital poster-making competition by children’s rights groups to illustrate the death caused by the tobacco industry. 

Twelve-year-old Kaye Sarmiento won first place in her age group in the digital category for ‘Paralyzing Addiction’. Jun Ivanne Dalman’s digital poster ‘Tobacco Destroys, Destroy Tobacco’ placed first in his age group. 

In the traditional poster-making category that allowed the use of physical materials such as watercolor and acrylic, 12-year-old John Henry Luna Jr.’s poster ‘Mulat na Bulag’ won first place in the 10-14-year-old age group while Errol Caringal’s ‘The Outturns of Ash’ gained the top prize in the 15-17 age group.  

“Tobacco companies are targeting children and young people as the next generation of consumers of their deadly products to sustain their business,” said Romeo Dongeto, executive director of PLCPD and co-convener of CRN Philippines. 

“These artworks remind us to take time and listen to children and young people in their clamor for a  tobacco-free future,” he added. 

“We have to remind grown-ups constantly: there are 117,000 deaths every year due to tobacco-related illnesses in the Philippines, 269 billion pesos in annual socio-economic losses, 12.5% student-smokers as of 2019, and 23.8% adult smokers,” said ImagineLaw Executive Director Atty. Sophia San Luis.

‘Mulat na Bulag’ by 12-year-old John Henry Luna, Jr. of Quezon City exposes the harms caused by the tobacco industry.

“Children can reduce complex problems into the simplest truths: tobacco companies are harmful and deadly. Tobacco companies are neither friends nor allies,” she also said. 

The other finalists in the traditional poster-making category are the following: Second Place, 10-14-year-old Age Group: ‘Pag-iwas sa Mapanganib na Sigarilyo, Isang Babala para sa Sambayanang Pilipino’ by Elyzza Jane V. Caringal (13 years old) of Batangas; Third Place, 10-14-year-old Age Group: ‘Nagkakaisang Kabataan upang Sigarilyo ay Wakasan’ by Kyle Brondial Espinosa (13 years old) of Bataan; Second Place, 15-17-year-old Age Group: ‘Don’t Let Tobacco Burn Your Future Into Ashes by John Estrael J. Ballera (17 years old) from San Pedro City, Laguna; and Third Place, 15-17-year-old Age Group: ‘Deadly stick’ by Zara Gen G. Velasco (16 years old) from Nueva Ecija.

The other finalists in the digital poster-making category are the following: Second Place, 10-14-year-old Age Group: ‘Sigarilyo ay huwag susubukan dahil ito ay magdadala ng kadiliman sa sarili at sa bayan’ by Bai Alija Zacaria (14 years old) of North Cotabato; Third Place, 10-14-year-old Age Group: ‘Ill Effects of Cigarettes’ by Gerald Timothy M. Cruz (11 years old) of Zamboanga City; Second Place, 15-17-year-old Age Group: ‘Ang Industriya ng Tobacco’ by Lander John Salango (17 years old) of Cavite; and Third Place, 15-17-year-old Age Group: ‘Cremation’ by Imma Christel Ehlan Carranza Quimbo (16 years old) of Cavite. 

Winners received cash prizes and certificates.

Eco-Friendly Ideas for Retail Businesses

Many small business owners want to do their part to help the environment, not just because they want to do the right thing, but also because their customers expect it. There are several changes you can make to create an eco-friendlier business.

Eco-friendly Shopping Bags

Packing Material

When a customer makes a purchase, train your employees to ask if they want a bag. Often a customer will be happy to put small items into their purse or backpack. Bulky items often don’t need a bag either. It’s just as easy to carry out the item bagless. When customers do want their purchases bagged, provide them with environmental shopping bags that are easy to recycle or reuse. Even though colorful tissue paper is pretty, consider wrapping delicate items in newspaper or shredded paper.

Receipts and Coupons

Receipts can easily be emailed to customers, cutting down on unnecessary paper use. Some customers are wary about agreeing to this because they fear their inbox will be flooded with unwanted emails. Assure customers that receipt lists are kept separate from business promotion email lists so that they are more willing to try out this paper-free service. In addition, create scannable coupons that loyal customers can use via text or email. This will enable you to bypass or cut down on mail-outs.


Get rid of incandescent bulbs in favor of more energy-saving light bulbs which can last up to 25 times longer. When possible, use natural light in your store and turn some of the overhead lights off completely.

Break Room

In the break room, ditch the soda machine in favor of a filtered water system. Encourage employees to bring refillable water bottles and provide package-free snacks such as fruit or even homemade cookies. Provide large clear storage jars and refill them with pretzels, nuts or anything that can be bought in bulk.

There are several things you can do to be more eco-friendly. Even one small change can be responsible for getting rid of large amounts of waste.