22 February 2017 – The National Youth Commission (NYC), headed by Undersecretary Cariza “Aiza” Yamson Siguera, called out a meeting for the creation of an awareness program geared toward clearing the stigma around HIV+ individuals in the workplace. This is in response to the alarming rate of infections reported in 2016, majority of which was from the youth sector. The meeting was attended by Dr. Stella Flores of the Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc., and Mr. Philip Nucleus Sia I, Managing Director of COMPETAD and member of the Philippines HR Core Group of Volunteers, who represented the Philippines HR Group. The NYC meeting was facilitated by Peach Lopez of the National Youth Commission.
The discussion revolved around plans and activities that can be done to raise HIV+ awareness among different private corporations in the Philippines, particularly the BPOs. Several insights about the experience of the Pilipinas Shell Foundation in educating about HIV in various companies in the Philippines was shared by Dr. Flores. She expounded on the prevalence of HIV in the Philippines, explaining that as of 2016 we are now ranked 2nd in Southeast Asia when it comes to countries with the highest infection being reported. An average of 26 Filipinos everyday is discovered to be infected with HIV and 24 out of these would be part of the youth sector and the working class.
The group agreed that the working population can potentially be highly impacted and must therefore be educated in regard to the alarming numbers. The NYC has sought the assistance of the Philippine HR Group to spread its word in the HR Community. Both groups believe that the Human Resource Professionals play a key role in breaking the stigma among HIV+ individuals. Providing the community with proper education about handling such cases of HIV+ in the workplace is crucial to realize the joint advocacy. Aside from this, the program also aims to educate HR professionals and employees alike about RA 8504 and DOLE Memorandum 102-10 which are laws forwarding the rights of HIV+ individuals.
The Philippine HR Group would be helping in spreading awareness among HR professionals through the use of its Facebook community, tapping its almost 40 Thousand members and followers (as of Feb 2017). In the next few months, the HR Community shall expect to learn more about the upcoming joint projects of the Philippines HR Group and the National Youth Commission. At the moment, the two organizations shall have follow-up meetings and discussions in order to develop more concrete ways of involving the HR community in the advocacy.
Below is one of the videos that will be used in this awareness drive. Credits to Pilipinas Shell Foundation for providing this comprehensive and socio-sensitive awareness video.