The city government of Caloocan, along with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)-affected community and advocates, organized a solemn candlelight ceremony on May 25, to pay tribute to those who lost their lives to Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), the advanced stage of HIV.
Caloocan City Mayor Dale Gonzalo "Along" Malapitan expressed his utmost support and respect to the HIV-affected community.
"Sa ating mga kababayan na apektado ng karamdamang ito, gusto ko pong maipadama ang aming pantay na pagtingin, suporta, at respeto para inyo (To our fellow countrymen who are affected by this disease, I want to express our equal regard, support, and respect for you),” the mayor said.
"Samantala, hinihikayat ko naman po ang lahat na makibahagi at tumulong upang tuluyang mawakasan ang diskriminasyon at mga maling paniniwala tungkol sa HIV-AIDS (Meanwhile, I encourage everyone to participate and help to completely end discrimination and false beliefs about HIV-AIDS),” he added.
City Health Department Head Dr. Evelyn Cuevas also promoted the HIV-related free services being offered by the city government.
These services include the distribution of free HIV test kits, counseling sessions, as well as awareness seminars and orientations for residents.
Malapitan assured that these efforts will continue to be implemented in order to provide ongoing guidance and assistance to those already impacted by the disease.
"Patuloy po tayong magbibigay ng gabay at mga libreng serbisyo sa ating mga mamamayan at mas magsisikap tayong matututukan ang pangangailangan ng mga kababayan nating apektado ng sakit na ito (We will continue to provide guidance and free services to our citizens and we will work harder to focus on the needs of our citizens affected by this disease),” he said.