Davao City sustains low HIV case prevalence

Davao Region has maintained the low prevalence rate of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) cases in 2015, the Reproductive Health and Wellness Center (RHWC) survey revealed.

RHWC Head Dr. Jordana Ramiterre said this is lower compared to other cities such as Quezon City, Manila and Cebu whose HIV prevalence rate reaches from 6 to 8 percent.

“For Davao City, tayo lang yung naka retain ng 5% prevalence ng HIV among males who have sex with other males,” said Ramiterre.

(For Davao City, we were the only region who retains the 5% prevalence rate of HIV cases among males who have sex with other males)

She said the use of condoms possibly contributed to the slower spread of the virus.

“And also doon sa surveillance namin, it was also seen that with the prevalence na na-sustain at 5%, there was increase in percentage of condom use,” she said.

(And with our surveillance, it was also seen that the sustained prevalence rate of 5% is closely linked to the increase in the percentage of condom use.)

In 2009, Davao Region ranked 3rd to have the most cases of HIV in the Philippines but it went down to 5th rank since 2011 up to 2015.

“In a way that is positive because probably, people here are more aware, more careful and if it indeed is increasing, it could be that people are accessing the testing already,” she said.

But the latest data of HIV cases calls for continued intensified campaign for HIV-AIDS.

Ramiterre bared that the RHWC have recorded a total of 20 HIV cases in October and 21 cases more in November 2015.

According to the report, HIV victims in October were males ages 15 to 24 years old and 25 to 34 years old.

Ramiterre assured the public that the supply and distribution of the anti-retroviral medicines for the HIV victims are not affected by the recent 1 billion budget cut from the Department of Health (DOH) for family planning commodities.

She urged the public to avail the services of the RHWC since it is free for everyone.

| Published in 105.9 Balita FM Facebook page: Davao City sustains low HIV case prevalence, January 13, 2016

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Late councilor inspires envi group

Other than mourning, the environment group Interface Development Intervention, Inc. (IDIS) said they were inspired by the kind of environmentalist Councilor Leonardo Avila III epitomized.

IDIS Executive Director Mary Ann Fuertes said late councilor Avila set a good example to them as advocates for the environment.

“Nainspire kami sa mga ginawa niya and dahil noon dala-dala namin yun. Nainspire kami na mas lalo pang pagbutihan ang trabaho namin sa pagprotect ng environment at magkaroon tayo ng greener Davao City. (Pinapanatili) ang Davao City maging truly sustainable and green city,” said Fuertes.

(We were inspired by the things that he did and we remember it until now. We were inspired to do our job in protecting our environment well and to have a greener Davao City. We strive to keep Davao City truly sustainable and green city.)

“In honor to him, we will do our best,” she added.

Councilor Leonardo “Happy L.A.” Avila III who just passed away Sunday because of stroke, served the people of Davao as the chair of the committee on environment.

“Si Sir Leo ay talagang partner namin from the start ng banner ordinance na ginawa kasama ang IDIS yung Ban Aerial Spraying Ordinance. Grabe ang kampanya nuon. Grabe ang struggle sa city council pero hindi tayo iniwanan ni Sir Leo. Grabe din yung commitment niya,” said Fuertes.

(Sir Leo has become our partner from the start of the banner ordinance he did with IDIS, the Ban Aerial Spraying Ordinance. We had an intensive campaign. We struggled in the City Council but Sir Leo never left us. His commitment was enormous.)

The councilor had crafted and co-sponsored green ordinances such as the Anti-Smoke Belching Ordinance (2006), Ban Aerial Spraying Ordinance (2009), Watershed Code (2007), Establishment of Marine Protected Areas (2007), Fisheries Code (2008), Rainwater Ordinance (2009), Ecological Solid Waste Management Ordinance (2010), Septage and Sewerage Management Ordinance (2010), Organic Agriculture Ordinance (2010) and Bicycle Ordinance (2010).

Fuertes said their group, along with Avila, are on the process of creating the environment code but also admitted that they might have a difficulty of turning it over to the next person.

“Maipagpatuloy pa rin namin yung ordinances niya kasi yung last time, naka 11 meetings and technical working group writeshop na rin yung environment code. Kasi ang dami na ngang green ordinances pero dapat siya macompile into one, yung environment code talaga” she said.

(We can still continue his ordinances because we had meetings for 11 times and we had technical working group writeshop for the crafting of the environment code. There are a lot of green ordinances but we have to compile them into a code.)

“We will try our best to pass it in his honor,” she added.

Councilor Avila died at the age of 58.

| Published in 105.9 Balita FM Facebook page: Late councilor inspires envi group, December 21, 2015

AFP lauds CPP-NPA’s ceasefire order

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) appreciated the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines in their declaration of ceasefire as a sign of solidarity with the nation in the Christmas and New Year celebration.

The National Democratic Front (NDF), through their website, declared a 12-day halt in crossfire Tuesday to “all commands and units of the New People’s Army and the people’s militias” beginning December 23, 2015 until 11:59 PM of January 3, 2016.

“During the ceasefire period, all NPA units and people’s militias shall cease and desist from carrying out offensive military operations against the armed units and personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine National Police (PNP) and other paramilitary and armed groups attached to the Government of the Republic of the Philippines,” the NDF said in the statement.

Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom) Major General Rey Guerrero said the ceasefire order was a welcome development for them.

Guerrero also urged the Leftist group to descend to the city and celebrate the occasion along with their families and recognize their role in the society.

“Mas mabuti bumaba na sila and spend time with their family at baka while they are with their families, they will be able to rethink their position and realize the fact that they are missing a lot while being there in the mountains fighting a cause that has no relevance in today’s society especially na ang gobyerno natin ay really keen in pushing for the development of our country,” said Guerrero.

(It is better if they go down and spend time with their family and perhaps while they are with their families, they will be able to rethink their position and realize the fact that they are missing a lot while being there in the mountains fighting for a cause that has no relevance in today’s society especially that our government is really keen in pushing for the development of our country.)

He hoped that the CPP-NPA will not breach their own ceasefire declaration.

“We just hope that they will remain true and sincere sa kanilang intent to have a ceasefire kasi baka mamaya, nagsi-ceasefire tapos biglang maglo-launch sila ng mga tactical offensive, papasok sila sa mga communities at gagawa ng hindi kanais-nais dun, so we just hope that they will be true and faithful dun sa kanilang intent,” said Guerrero.

(We just hope that they will remain true and sincere in their intention to have a ceasefire because we might not know they will launch tactical offenses and enter into communities and create mayhem so we just hope that they will be true and faithful in their intention.)

Despite the ceasefire order, he said the military remained to be on heightened alert for the possible threats to the EastMinCom’s areas of responsibilities.

Meanwhile, the military also prepares for the upcoming CPP-NPA anniversary.

According to NDF, the ceasefire order will also “enable the revolutionary forces to carry out mass assemblies and public demonstrations to mark the 47th anniversary of the CPP and celebrate revolutionary victories of the past year.”

Guerrero of the EastMinCom said they had been on heightened alert since October.

Among their preparations were the deployment of combat patrols and peace and security immersions in baranggays.

| Published in 105.9 Balita FM Facebook page: AFP lauds CPP-NPA’s ceasefire order, December 16, 2015

PDEA XI nabs 6M worth of drugs

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Davao Region seized about 700 grams of drugs equivalent to 6 million pesos.

PDEA 11 regional director Adzhar Albani said the drugs confiscated in an interception operation was enclosed in a package wherein 500 grams came from Paranaque City while the other 200 grams came from Iloilo City.

Aside from the drugs, the agency was able to arrest the consignees of the packages, one through a buy-bust operation while the other was through interdiction operation.

“We cannot divulge their identity. The cases now are being filed in court. We arrested one consignee through buy-bust and the other was through interdiction operation,” he said.

He also bared that the consignees are residents of Matina, Davao City and Davao Oriental.

Albani said large amounts of drugs enter the city through airports in the guise of mails and parcels.

“Most of the drugs coming in by bulk pass through airports, meaning mga parcel na yan. Nakukuha namin yung mga droga na malakihan by half kilo o 1 kilo pataas, nandyan sa mga mail and parcel services,” he said.

(Most of the drugs coming in by bulk pass through airports in parcels. We have seized as much as half-kilo to 1 kilo above, packed in mail and parcel services.)

The agency intensified their anti-drug operation by creating the Airport Interdiction Unit who will constantly monitor the entry of illegal drugs in airports .

“We have 24/7 composite team lead by PDEA and that is one of the measures we are placing to prevent the influx of drugs in Davao City or in Davao Region,” he said.

The interdiction unit is composed of the personnel from the PDEA, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Bureau of Customs (BoC), Philippine National Police-Aviation Security Group (PNP-AvSeG) and Francisco Bangoy International Airport.

| Published in 105.9 Balita FM Facebook page: PDEA XI nabs 6M worth of drugs, December 10, 2015

Duterte admits possible chaos if disqualified

Davao City Mayor and presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte admitted a possible turmoil in case the Commission on Election (COMELEC) disqualifies on the upcoming 2016 Elections.

In his Sunday program Gikan sa Masa, Para sa Masa, he said a disqualification decision similar to what happened to Senator Grace Poe may cause the Moro’s and the Leftists’ uproar.

Senator Grace Poe was disqualified by the COMELEC 2nd Division last December 1 due to the failure in fulfilling the 10-year residency requirement for a presidential aspirant.

“I think there will be a rumble dito sa Moro kasi medyo Duterte yan because of my blood ties and the Left, magwala din yan because I’d like to tell you now that I am left and I have always been connected with them,” said Duterte.

(I think there will be a rumble here with the Moro because they are pro-Duterte due to our blood ties. And the Left might be enraged because I’d like to tell you now that I am a leftist and I have always been connected with them.)

He also added his supporters will disagree if he decides to withdraw his candidacy since one of the reasons for running is already almost out of the race, Senator Poe.

He decided to run for president. on November 23 when the Senate Electoral Tribunal favored Poe in the disqualification petition raised against the senator.

But Duterte said he will still wait for the final verdict of the Supreme Court regarding Senator Poe’s disqualification case.

Meanwhile, the mayor is facing a petition to the COMELEC First Division against his substitution to former Partido Demokratiko Pilipino – Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) standard bearer Martin Diño.

One Ruben Castro petitioned after knowing that Diño filed a certificate of candidacy for Pasay City mayorship instead of the presidency.

Castro also claimed that Duterte should not become Diño’s proxy because of the possibility of the latter to be declared by the COMELEC as a nuisance candidate.

However, the mayor said he is ready whatever the COMELEC decides.

“When they can decide, either way, I will abide their decision. I will never be the same again kasi wala na akong mapuntahan so I will retire for good,” said Duterte.

The hearing for his disqualification case is set on December 16, a day before COMELEC releases the final list of 2016 Election official presidential candidates.

| Published in 105.9 Balita FM Facebook page: Duterte admits possible chaos if disqualified, December 7, 2015

GMEA 2015: Epitomes of media excellence named

Nine journalists and bloggers from Visayas and Mindanao have proved that they exhibit exemplary journalistic works as recognized by a telecommunication giant, Globe Telecom in the Globe Media Excellence Awards.

Ben Jason Tesiorna of CNN Philippines was hailed as Reporter of the Year for Television for his story entitled “The Man Who Thanked HIV for New Life” and his story “Davao City’s Best Water was awarded as the Explanatory/ Investigative Story of the Year for Television.

For the Reporter of the Year for Radio, Big Jay Lagang of 105.9 Balita FM emerged winner for his story about “Indigenous Student Education”. The same award was bagged last year by his colleague in the same media outlet, Rommel Aquino.

The Reporter of the Year for Print was given to Henrylito D. Tacio of Edge Davao for his story “HIV/AIDS cases in Davao Growing” and his story “Davao City: Before and After” were adjudged as the Explanatory/Investigative Story for Print/Online.

Sunstar Davao’s Seth C. Delos Reyes became the recipient of the Photojournalist of the Year award for the photo “Playground” while Mindanao Bulletin’s Fred C. Lumba is the Columnist of the Year for his column entitled “Federalism is good for the country.”

For the digital media, the blog post “It’s Hard to be a Kid in Kiahe” by Ariel Lalisan in his blog Living in the South made him the Blogger of the Year while Olan Emboscado’s vlog post “ Into the Heart of Agusan Marsh” in the The Travel Teller made him the Social Media Advocate of the Year.

The storytellers competed in the different categories along with 58 other journalists of media organizations hailing as far as Zamboanga, General Santos, Cagayan de Oro and Davao.

“The number of entries that we received this year is a testament to the commitment of media practitioners to provide exemplary reporting in their respective fields given the vital role of the press in effecting positive societal transformation and nation-building,” said Globe Senior Vice President for Corporate Communications Yoly Crisanto in a statement.

The winners for the Reporter of the Year and Investigative Stories for TV, Print/Online, and Radio, received 20,000 pesos each and 5,000 for their editors.

Meanwhile, the Photojournalist, Blogger and Social Media Advocate of the Year received 10,000 pesos while the Columnist of the Year was given 15,000 pesos. All of them were given trophies.

| Published in 105.9 Balita FM Facebook page: GMEA 2015: Epitomes of media excellence named, December 4, 2015

DOH XI: UCCP Haran sanitation ‘manageable’, to provide add’l comfort rooms

Contrary to the grave representation of the City Health Office (CHO), the regional health office described the sanitation situation of the Lumads in the UCCP Haran as ‘manageable’.

This after the team of Department of Health XI regional director Abdullah Dumama conducted an inspection in the area Thursday.

“Pagdating ko doon, I didn’t expect that kasi lumalabas na napakasobra na. Though merong water and sanitation problem but manageable na man,” said Dumama.

(I did not expect the situation when I arrived there because what I know it was worse. Though there are water and sanitation problem, but it is manageable.)

Because of this, the office is set to put up six additional comfort rooms and six more bathrooms for the settlers.

“Sa ngayon ready na ang ating mga gamit pero maaaring mga next week sisimulan yung anim na bowls para gamitin sa CR (comfort rooms) tapos yung mga gamit pina-emergency purchase na namin sa DRMC (Davao Regional Medical Center),” he said.

(For now, our materials are ready and we can start mounting the six bowls for the comfort rooms while the rest, we already requested the DRMC to purchase it.)

In order to prevent the possible spread of diseases, the DOH also coordinated with DRMC for the fumigation schedule of the compound but permission from the chieftain and the compound caretakers must first be sought.

The DOH also provides medical services to the Lumads every Tuesday and Friday to be administered by the medical teams from the health office and the DRMC respectively.

Aside from that, he said that Lumads who needs immediate care and attention can be referred to the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) and their financial obligations to the hospital will be shouldered by PhilHealth.

| Published in 105.9 Balita FM Facebook page: DOH XI: UCCP Haran sanitation ‘manageable’, to provide add’l comfort rooms, November 30, 2015