By Narrabelle Zamora-Bue
Zamboanga City (17 February) -- The Department of Social Welfare and Development conducted a one-day consultative workshop on HIVAIDS participated by the different government agencies and non-government organizations on February 10 at Astoria Hotel.
The activity aims to support and strengthen the role of social workers/community volunteers and health workers in promoting the rights and welfare of persons with the HIV/AIDS which has been termed as PLHIV (Persons Living with HIV).
The alarming increase of HIV cases has prompted the government to enforce the Philippine Aids Law (RA8504) of which the DSWD is mandated to provide assessment for livelihood opportunities to the infected and the affected persons and the community and to likewise develop programs that will look into their welfare.
DSWD Regional Director Teodulo Romo, in his message, stressed the need to come up with ways on how to assist the PLHIV and the family considering the stigma and discrimination that they experience.
"We hope to look into the psycho-social aspect of the person and the affected family with the goal of providing opportunities for them to participate in skills training and livelihood programs that will empower them and maintain their normalcy as individuals in the community," Romo emphasized.
Ms. Gemma Gabuya, Officer-In-Charge of Social Technology Bureau of DSWD Central Office revealed that the activity is a preparatory for the implementation of the care and Support Services for Persons with HIV/AIDS and their families which was earlier pilot-tested in NCR and Region III.
A harmonized referral system is also one of the expected outputs of the consultative dialogue which will paved the way for a systematic and comprehensive services provided by the government and some NGOs at the regional and provincial level.
Further, a referral system hopes to promote social acceptance and respect for PLHIV and those caring for HIV-infected persons. It will also facilitate their active participation in decisions affecting their lives.