AIDS candlelight memorial held PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 17 May 2012 15:22

The city government through the City Health Office (CHO) spearheaded last night the AIDS candlelight memorial at the R.T. Lim Boulevard in memory of those who passed away due to the dreaded HIV-AIDS.

Themed “Promoting Health and Dignity Together”, the observance of AIDS Candlelight Memorial was an international event and formed part of the anti-HIV-AIDS advocacy or awareness campaign.

City Health Officer Rodel Agbulos said the event mobilized various sectors and stakeholders.

The activity kicked off with a walk from the Joaquin Enriquez Memorial Sports Complex in Baliwasan to the R.T. Lim Boulevard where the ceremonial lighting of the candles took place. A huge wreath was set adrift at sea symbolizing the city’s compassion for people who died of HIV-AIDS.
The International AIDS Candlelight memorial started in 1983 and is originally held every third Sunday of May. It is the aim of the activity “to honor, support,

and advocate for those who have been affected by the global HIV epidemic through mobilizing communities for a world where people do not die of AIDS and people living with HIV can live in health and with dignity.”

Mayor Celso Lobregat graced the activity and thanked the different agencies and sectors that participated in the activity. He said his administration will continue to undertake measures to prevent and control HIV-AIDS in Zamboanga.

In 1999, the city government in cooperation with the Human Development and Empowerment services, an NGO, initiated the Effective partnership for an AIDS-free Zamboanga”, intended to prevent and control HIV-AIDS. Ordinance 234 known as the Zamboanga City HIV Prevention Ordinance that created the Zamboanga City Multi-Sectoral AIDS Council (ZCMSAC) was approved in 2001 during the time of the late Mayor Maria Clara Lobregat.

Mayor Celso Lobregat pursues the program through the ZCMSAC where he sits as chairman with City Health Officer Agbulos as the chief executive officer. The members come from various sectors both from the LGU and NGO which include the Sangguniang Panlungsod, Medical, Civic Clubs, education, media, youth, business and labor, religious and gay sectors.

Because of the city’s accomplishments in the anti-HIV-AIDS campaign, Zamboanga has been recognized and cited several times. In 2005, the city received the Trailblazer Award from the Galing Pook Foundation on Effective Partnership Towards an AIDS free Zamboanga; in 2006, the special commendation from the UNDP and Galing Pook Foundation for MDG 6 which is to combat HIV-AIDS and in December 2010, the city received the C.H.A.M.P. (Catalytic HIV and AIDS Mitigating Programme) Award from DILG-LGA and UNDP. — Sheila Covarrubias