Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Odds and Ends 8/3/10

109 new HIV/AIDS cases recorded last month

“Of the 109 individuals reported, 18 were detected from voluntary counseling and testing as part of the ongoing community outreach activities... 42 percent (46) of the reported cases were from the National Capital Region,” the DOH said.

The rise in HIV/AIDS cases started three years ago due to unsafe sexual practices of the men-having-sex-with-men (MSM) sector, which includes not only gays but straight men as well, according to the DOH.

But during the first quarter of 2010, the DOH was alarmed after finding 68 HIV cases among injecting drug users in Cebu City. Eventually, more HIV-positive injecting drug users were monitored in 11 other towns and cities in Cebu province.

DOH program manager for National AIDS/Sexually Transmitted Infection Prevention and Control Program Dr. Gerard Belimac warned that the virus that causes AIDS spreads faster through injecting drug users because four to 10 individuals often share an infected needle.

So we see…the rise in HIV/AIDS cases is attributable to MSM and drug abuse, something former DOH Sec Cabral (good riddance) did not want to highlight, in the way she pushed for free condoms to battle the rise in HIV/AIDS. What a neat solution - spend scarce, public money to condone and subsidize irresponsible, risky behavior. And some people actually called her ‘courageous’. (?!)
'Corruption at Customs down by 80% in 3 years'

MANILA, Philippines - Customs Commissioner Angelito Alvarez has vowed to cut corruption in the bureau by 80 percent in three years.

“I cannot stop graft and corruption overnight. But when I came in from the private sector, I thought it would take a while or six years to reform. But with the signs I am seeing right now, maybe it would only take three years to realize that dream. Maybe we could get rid of 80 percent of graft and corruption,” Alvarez said.

Sure 80% is a big enough percentage. What puzzles me however, is the methodology in arriving at 80%. Does this mean that 100% of corruption at Customs is already known but only 80% can be solved in three years’ time? The thing is, one can only measure what is observable. If 100% of corruption is observable, then why stop at 80% and then call it a dream realized ? I have nothing to say against the good Commissioner’s intentions, but there is something wrong with the his stated objective…
Women's groups to Congress: Allow 'safe and legal abortion'

Reproductive health and women's rights advocates urged Congress Monday to pass a law allowing "safe and legal abortion," citing a new report that described a “human rights crisis" of maternal deaths, injuries, and illnesses arising from unsafe abortions in the Philippines.

The report “Forsaken Lives: The Harmful Impact of the Philippine Criminal Abortion Ban" released by the New-York-based Center for Reproductive Rights on Monday estimates that more than half a million Filipino women induce abortions every year. Of these, around 90,000 seek treatment for complications, while around 1,000 die.

“Our Congress should address this issue by passing a law that expressly allows safe and legal abortion," said Attorney Clara Rita Padilla, Executive Director of EnGendeRights.

Hmm…more ‘courageous’ people. I wonder how they came up with the 'estimates': "more than half a million; around 90,000; around 1,000"...when the report itself (on its methodology, page 21) said it relied only on 53 interviews and "on secondary sources containing public health data relating to unsafe abortion, which is very limited as a result of the criminal ban.". I guess even Commissioner Alvarez would be astounded by this "methodology" to arrive at an "estimate".

True colors are out: “Reproductive health and women's rights advocates” = "Pro-aborts". Let's see what Reps. Lagman, Garin, et al, have to say about this. Remember Rep. Garin stated that -- “We are strongly against abortion. The RH bill is pro-life and we are pushing for a good quality of life”. As a congresswoman worth her word and salt, we should now expect her to strongly oppose these “Reproductive health and women's rights advocates”. (!?) (h/t sunnyday)

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