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ROUGH CUTS | Taking government hostage

An official of the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) in-charge of the hospital’s unit monitoring the incidence of HIV-AIDS cases in the region is suggesting that it be made mandatory for pregnant women to undergo testing for the dreaded disease on their third trimester.

The official was quoted in the news report as saying it would be better if the detection is earlier so that the necessary medical intervention can be appropriately done.

We have no doubt that the recommendation is well-intentioned. After all the consideration is the well-being of the pregnant mothers and their still unborn babies.

Unfortunately, suggesting that the HIV-AIDS testing be made mandatory could leave a bad taste in the mouths for husbands. It could be interpreted as if the hospital official concerned is assuming that majority – if not all – husbands are lotharios and gallivanting around doing their sexual exploits without regard to whoever partner they can have.

As we said earlier, the intention of the official is for the good of the mothers and babies. But making the testing mandatory is far too harsh. Maybe a more sustained information, education and communications (IEC) campaign is readily acceptable. For now, we have observed that IECs on HIV-AIDS are intermittent and its messages are not compelling enough to convince the target audiences to follow.

May be this is one area that the Department of Health, and for that matter the SPMC, can work closely with the local government of Davao City so a more effective IEC appropriate for Davaoenos can be developed and launched in the city.

Perhaps this can help the local government do away with the tag number one in the numbers of HIV-AIDS cases in the whole of the Davao Region.


The other day certain groups of drivers and operators were warning the government that the country, more specifically the Metro Manila Region, could be facing a transportation crisis. The groups threatened to go on strike that could last for two weeks, or even longer, if the government will not agree to their demand to stop the public utility jeeps modernization program.

The drivers and operators organizations even said that they are willing to forego with their income needed to feed their families to show the government that they are willing to sacrifice that much if only to attain their objective.

Frankly we sympathize with the drivers much more than the operators in their organizations’ ranks. However, we are not ready to support them in their apparent taking hostage of the government just to pursue their cause.

Let them be reminded that the program of the government to modernize the public utility jeeps is intended for the good of the greater number of the Filipino people, the drivers and operators included. It is one way of addressing the growing problem of the effects of climate change. It is a fact that the hundreds of thousands of old vehicles, mostly public utility jeeps, are contributing largely to the carbon dioxide emission in the atmosphere.

.We believe that it is now time for the government to be firm in its decision to implement the modernization program whether or not it will hurt some sectors. It should not anymore budge to the demand of the drivers and operators groups to extend the consolidation deadline.

Nonetheless, the government can do something within its power to directly address one of the most urgent of issues complained by the groups – the high cost of eacjh unit of the modern jeep. The government can compel the manufacturers of the modern jeeps to reduce the cost of the unit to that which is affordable to the drivers and smalltime operators.

It can be done by mandating a specific but less costly design or by increasing the subsidy of government to the cost in the unit acquisition by the consolidated drivers and operators.
It is one give and take proposition.



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