May 31, 2013


MANILA, Philippines - Labor group Trade Union Congress of the Philippines and various government agencies will sign on Thursday a pact creating a national convergence program for the social protection for workers in the informal sector.
TUCP Secretary General Gerard Seno said the signing of the memorandum of agreement will be led by the Department of Labor and Employment.
"We are committing fully to this comprehensive but targetted approach in addressing the growing perceived needs of millions of informal workers’ immediate access to government services such as affordable housing, health and nutrition, skills development, job matching, loan and credit facilitation, expanded social security coverage and subsidies," Seno said.
TUCP estimates that 15 million workers in the informal sector, including vendors, drivers, barbers, tailors, fishermen, barbers, plumbers, tailors and construction workers, are expected to benefit from the social protection program.
Beginning next year, an initial target of 2.5 million informal workers will benefit from the program’s expansion of SSS and Philhealth coverage by requiring membership of all government livelihood grants and subsidies, livelihood, training on safety and health in performing their jobs, skills training and labor market information for graduates of government’s Conditional Cash Transfer program.

LABOR ADVOCACY GROUP: 1,089 new HIV patients in 1Q of 2013

LABOR ADVOCACY GROUP: 1,089 new HIV patients in 1Q of 2013: DOH says 1,089 new HIV patients in 1Q of 2013 MANILA, Philippines - A total of 1,089 Filipinos have been diagnosed for human immunodefici...

DOH: 12 new HIV/AIDS cases per day

MANILA, Philippines - From an average of nine new cases of HIV/AIDS a day in 2012, the Department of Health (DOH) registered 12 new cases daily in January this year.
Health Assistant Secretary Eric Tayag said these 12 new cases daily are equivalent to 380 new cases reported to the DOH’s Philippine HIV and AIDS Registry in January 2013. Of these, 25 were already AIDS at the time of reporting.
“(This is) the most number of new cases per month since 1984 (when the registry started). The cumulative total is now at 12,082,” Tayag said.
The registry showed the 380 cases were 79 percent higher compared to the 212 cases recorded in January 2012. Eighty two percent of the cases involved males having sex with other males (MSM).
Tayag said they received information that MSM contact usually occurs at home. “They are not using protection. It’s bareback, no condom,” he described.
And despite the risk, those engaging in MSM are not keen on undergoing HIV testing because of the stigma and discrimination still associated with the disease.

He noted some MSM complain of doctors and nurses “who do not know how to handle them. ”
Some MSM also complain about the fees for HIV testing in some healthcare facilities and the one-month waiting period for the release of confirmatory test results which they deem too long.
The registry showed that sexual contact has accounted for 374 cases while the mode of transmission for four other cases was needle sharing among injecting drug users. Of the 380 cases, 25 were females.
Tayag said 61 percent of the new cases were aged 20 to 29 years old.
“These are the ages when you are productive and then you will be infected for life. Although there are drugs, there could still be complications in months or years to come,” he said.
Tayag urged those who are “aggressive and adventurous” but do not know the risks to slow down and come to DOH for information.
“If you cannot abstain (from sex), if you cannot maintain a marital relationship or you cannot be mutually faithful, you can just use condom to protect your life,” Tayag said.
The registry showed the bulk of new cases came from Metro Manila at 48 percent; Calabarzon (15 percent); Central Luzon (nine percent); Davao (eight percent) and Central Visayas (six percent).
Thirty-seven of the 380 cases were overseas Filipino workers. Ninety seven percent got infected through sexual contact while one contracted the virus through needle sharing.
The report showed that since 1984, the DOH monitored 12,082 HIV cases and 1,194 of these have progressed into AIDS. The death toll is 353.
A total of 2,915 of these cases belonged to the 15 to 24 age groups while 62 cases were children below 15 years old. Males accounted for 10,431 of the cases.
Of the 12,082 HIV positive cases reported from 1984 to 2013, 93 percent (11,181) were infected through sexual contact and four percent (444) through needle sharing among injecting drug users.
Less than one percent of the cases were through mother-to-child transmission (59); blood transfusion (20) and needle prick injury (three).