DUTERTE SIGNS HIV-AIDS ACT INTO LAW
Malacañang announced on Wednesday that President Rodrigo R. Duterte has signed into law the Philippine HIV and AIDS Act of 2018.
From the statement of Presidential Spokesperson Salvador S. Panelo, the act was signed last December 20. He said that the new law which mandates the government to strengthen its programs to effectively prevent the spread of Human Immunodeficiency Virus-Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV-AIDS) in the country.
“We consider its enactment and signing timely and relevant on the account of the report of Department of Health disclosing that our country has the highest percentage relative to the increase of new HIV cases in the Asia-Pacific region from 2010-2016,” he added.
The Palace also cited lawmakers and stakeholders “who [had] immensely contributed to the passage of an updated legal framework addressing HIV and AIDS.”
Panelo assured that, “This piece of landmark legislation will significantly reduce the stigma of people living with HIV or AIDS.”
Once the law has undergone appropriate documentation by the Office of the President, Panelo said that the Palace will soon release a copy signed by the President.
Senator Risa N. Hontiveros-Baraquel, the principal author and co-sponsor of the law, said in a statement:
“With the signing into law of this measure, we now have a modern policy to curb the prevalence of HIV and AIDS in the country. In September of last year alone, there 954 new cases of HIV in the country, many of which involved young people. With this law, the government can now effectively update and upgrade its response to this growing problem.”
She noted that the Philippines is the only country in Southeast Asia where number of new cases is on the rise, where there has been a 170% increase among aged 15-24.
“The measure provides young Filipinos with the correct information and healthy values that will protect them from the disease,” she added.