The Positive Action Foundation Philippines, Inc. (PAFPI) extends its technical assistance to the local government units (LGUs) of Manila, Navotas, and Valenzuela City in the updating of the Local AIDS Council (LAC) and for the drafting of ordinances on HIV and AIDS service delivery improvement.

Implementing the EPIC Project in the three cities involves several dialogues and consultations with the local chief executives. Accordingly, the pandemic affected the performance of LAC, making it non-functional. The LAC also follows the old Republic Act 8504, or the Philippine AIDS Prevention and Control Act of 1988, which calls for an urgent amendment following Republic Act 11166, or the Philippine HIV and AIDS Policy Act of 2018.

Local AIDS Council and AIDS Ordinances

The City of Manila has an HIV policy with plans for LAC reactivation. Although the other two cities have LACs, they do not have local ordinances to address specific or localized service delivery interventions and HIV case monitoring.

Aside from holding dialogues with the LCEs, consultations with the key affected population (KAP) highlight the need to develop a petition letter for the LGUs to start drafting the local ordinances. “Community mobilization is important to help us move to one specific goal, especially since data on the newly diagnosed are rising,” shared Robert Lim, EPIC Project Coordinator.

More so, the consultation with the KAP through the social hygiene clinics and health offices also raises the importance of having a meaningful engagement by including them in drafting the ordinances. The KAP wants involvement as part of the technical working group that works on the inception report writing, passing of the ordinance, and monitoring.

Some of the reasons for urgently working on the local ordinances are the rising and alarming number of newly diagnosed HIV in the said cities. During a pandemic, the challenges in mobility also led to a decrease in new HIV cases, while it showed a steep increase in 2022 with an upward trend until 2023.

What is Next?

In October 2023, the department heads of the three LGUs will have writeshops to draft the local ordinances. The writeshop also includes meaningful and purposeful participation from the KAP representatives. It would ensure that the ordinances include their concerns, address their issues, and protect their rights as people living with HIV.