HIV Summit 2010
Call to Action for Broad Based Response to HIV/ AIDS by Leaders
Closing remarks from the positive community
Presented By: Humphrey Gorriceta
Spokes person for The National Federation of Filipino
Living with HIV & AIDS (NaFFWA)
12 April 2010
Manila Diamond Hotel
Good afternoon everyone. I am Humphrey Gorriceta, spokes person for the National Federation of Filipino Living with HIV and AIDS. A national peak body representing PLHIV community-based groups in Philippines.
In behalf of the positive community, I would like to express my utmost gratitude to all of you for prioritizing this significant event.
(asked the audience to give themselves a round of applause for self-affirmation)
The fight against HIV/ AIDS is one of the greatest challenges our country is facing today. In the course of human history there has never been a greater threat than the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The epidemic is made worse by the unbearable stigma and discrimination that continues to exist in everyday life.
As a recall, first case of HIV infection in the Philippines was reported back in 1984 and since then the Filipino has suffered tremendously. Nevertheless, we have achieved a number of important breakthroughs and mile stones:
- More than two decades ago, HIV was identified.
- More than ten, the first therapies were discovered, saving thousands of lives and giving new hope to millions of people living with HIV.
- Right now, we have the potential for mobilizing the necessary medical and financial resources to defeat the epidemic. What is lacking is the political will of our leaders and full support from the religious community to save lives.
- And today we are all gathered here to unite and reach the same goal of putting a stop to the spread of HIV.
Before we come to a close, I would like to leave the following messages to:
NATIONAL & LOCAL GOVERNMENT LEADERS
As the people seated in the position, you hold the biggest bundle of our hope for our survival. I urge all the national and local leaders to push for the HIV/ AIDS treatment plan to a higher level and put it to action. I call to FORWARD A FILIPINO PEOPLE’S HIV/AIDS SUSTAINABLE TREATMENT PLAN! IT IS OUR CONSTITUTIONAL AND HUMAN RIGHT.
I know it is easier said than done. It would mean that we have to allocate more budgets to health. The health care infrastructure will need to be improved in many areas. The inequity between the private and the public health-care sector needs to be reduced. And there should be a stronger political will. But with the right attitude and a stronger political will, we will be able to achieve this. As the cliché goes: “If there’s a will, there’s a way.” Allow me translate that it Filipino…”Kung gusto may paraan, kung ayaw may dahlian.”
This is part of your responsibility and we trust you will not fail us on this.
In many ways, we are proud that the church has a strong influence on our values. The sanctity of life is fundamental to all of us. And we also believe in strong families consisting of committed individuals. For this reason, we would like to recommend the church leaders to please continue with your promotion to instil positive values to the community as we see this as equally important weapon in our fight to stop HIV infection. However, please do not be a hindrance to the government’s advocacy to impart the further information to the same community as to how they can protect themselves from the dreaded virus. For only in having a clear understanding of what we are up against can one efficiently exercise the same values we’ve acquired from you. What use are the values you gave us if we don’t know how to use it?
MEDIA AND ACADEME
Media and academe is a powerful social agent of change. They have the widest coverage since every Filipino family, one way or another, has an access to any form of media source and most have access to education and some form of learning. For this reason, you play a very important role in the fight to stop HIV/ AIDS. I would like to take this opportunity to ask the media, to be more responsible in media coverage and continue to help us spread accurate information through your reporting. And the academe, please support sexuality education that is unbiased, informed and scientifically sound. And always search, research and teach what is true and what is needed.
We trust you will not fail us on this.
CIVIL SOCIETY AND FUNDERS
From the bottom of our hearts, we would like to express our sincerest gratitude for your unwavering support on our fight stop HIV/ AIDS, to eradicate the stigma and discrimination faced by PLHIV, their families and friends. Let us maintain our good partnership and build a stronger bond of friendship amongst ourselves. We hope that you continue to support us until we reach our goal and aspirations.
- We would like to remind all PLHIV to:
- Live positively and productively both towards yourself and to others.
- Continue to strive to be full members of our community and society.
- Continue to play an active role in education, advocacy, care and support in order to enhance our lives and the lives of others.
- Bring the voice of those infected, affected and those stigmatized in our society to the multi-sectoral response to HIV/ AIDS.
- Continue to strive for improvement of the quality of life of our infected and affected brothers and sisters.
- We should work together to ensure better coordination and communication between stakeholders and key players.
Let us all work together to make this nation a safer, healthier and better place to live in.
This is the message you own and for which I hope for, on behalf of the positive community.