In the observance of the World AIDS Day 2013, the National Council of Churches in the Philippines affirms its commitment to acts of loving service in working with and among people and communities living with HIV (PLHIV) and AIDS.
We remain alarmed and deeply concerned with the rise of HIV and AIDS cases in the Philippines. The Philippine National AIDS Council reported that as of September 2013, there are 427 cases of HIV infection in the Philippines. With the continued rise of HIV and AIDS cases, is the continuing struggle of PLHIV’s and people living with AIDS for easier access to medical treatment, sustained and regular support and a life free from the clutches of stigma and discrimination.
As we observe this year’s World AIDS Day, we support the Getting to Zero campaign of the international community and other efforts to ensure that there will be no more infection, HIV and AIDS related deaths and ultimately no discrimination and stigmatization. A friendlier and healthier world will remain elusive unless all forces that strip life of human dignity exist. We will continue to work hand in hand with communities of PLHIV and AIDS in the grassroots – listening to their stories, and finding ways on how best our churches and partner organizations can embrace and welcome our brothers and sisters.
We also remember in prayer those who passed away because of AIDS. May their families continue to be comforted and strengthened by God’s mercy.
The words of St. Paul to the people of Galatia remind us of our vocation to serve our brothers and sisters living with HIV and AIDS: “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:26-28)