THE House of Representatives on Monday, December 4, approved on third and final reading the measure seeking to protect people living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndorme (AIDS).

The House voted 188-0 at a plenary session for the passage of the "Philippine HIV and Aids Policy Act," authored by Dinagat Island Rep. Arlene "Kaka" Bag-ao.

The bill, which was filed in June 2016, seeks to amend the Aids Prevention and Control Act of 1998.

The measure proposes the establishment of the National Multi-Sectoral HIV and Aids Strategic Plan that could create a road map on HIV and Aids with clear strategies, targets, operationalization framework and funding to further address the ballooning cases in the country.

It also aims to "strengthen the information dissemination, education, and stigma reduction mechanisms of the law," premised on the promotion of human rights and dignity of the persons living with the said diseases and identify the state institutions involved in the HIV and Aids response.

According to the Department of Health, the Philippines has 56,000 HIV cases or 30 new cases of HIV per day as of 2016. Around 95 percent of these cases were caused by unprotected sex. (SunStar Philippines)