By URIEL C. QUILINGUING
Contributing Editor .
COUNCILOR Maria Lourdes S. Gaane announced that the city government has allocated P2.5 million as city’s Local Aids Council (LAC) budget for its programs, projects and activities this year.
Gaane, during the 36th International Aids Candlelight Memorial and Mobilization at City Hall’s mini-park Sunday, said “there is no need for us to ask” since LAC has the budget, the same amount as last year’s.
“This is enough (budget) for us to get going,” said the lady physician-turned-politician who got fresh mandate for another three-year term in last week’s midterm elections.
She focused on LAC’s budget, after singling out Mindanao Gold Star Daily edition and described the paper’s front-page news, “Group asks city hall to fund Aids advocacy,” as “uncalled for,” “unfortunate” and “unethical.” But she did not elaborate.
Gaane, who sits in LAC as the vice-chairperson, then assured those present—many of them engaged in information, education and communication projects for several years— of LAC’s funding support.
“The city government will always be there,” she further said, but also hinted that non-governmental organizations (NGOs) engaged in Aids advocacy campaigns should be “empowered” to source out resources.
She recalled that the LAC, for several years, was “moribund” and had no budgetary support from the city government under the Emano administration.
Gaane said the LAC, for this year, has already formulated a calendar of activities based on the availability of its members, sinced most of the members are full-time government employees.
Included in the annual calendar are two major advocacy projects that have been observed worldwide, the IACMM every third Sunday of May and the World Aids Day Dec. 1 of every year.
Other than these, Misamis Oriental-Cagayan de Oro Aids Network (Mocan) president Fritzie Caybot-Estoque, who also spoke during this year’s IACMM, said there is a compelling need to bring the advocacy campaigns in the campuses.
Estoque then acknowledged public high school students and their teachers, who earlier attended the eucharistic mass at the St. Augustine Metropolitan Cathedral and the two-hour IACMM advocacy program.
Meanwhile, Department of Health 10 assistant regional director David Mendoza acknowledged the contributions of the LAC and various NGOs in the detection, diagnosis, care and support, and treatment of persons living with human immunodeficiency virus (PLHIV).
Mendoza also congratulated the LAC, which is chaired by City Mayor Oscar Moreno, for being the prime mover of this year’s IACMM in Cagayan de Oro.