Moving out

Moving to the new Google Sites: https://sites.google.com/view/glenncruz/home

Liwaliw is a Tagalog word, which according to Pinoy Dictionary means
“pleasure trip” or “taking a pleasant vacation.”

The Liwaliw website is a curation of Filipino heritage, culture and arts topics, as well as a collection of pages and books, film and video, and music selected and shared by the Liwaliw Seeker.

The Seeker is based in the City of Manila in the Philippines. In previous versions of Liwaliw, the Seeker once said that “blogging is an opinionated person’s recreation.”

PLHIV + PNAC = WAD 2014

[PRESS RELEASE]

PNAC partners with people living with HIV for World AIDS Day

MANILA – The Philippine National AIDS Council (PNAC) partnered with Pinoy Plus Association (PPA) in the staging of the Philippine observance of World AIDS Day today, Monday, 01 December at Atrium Hotel Manila in Pasay City.

Observance of 2014 World AIDS Day: Check Pinoy Plus' Facebook page of the event, "WAD Philippines 2014"

Observance of 2014 World AIDS Day: Check Pinoy Plus’ Facebook page of the event, “WAD Philippines 2014”

PPA’s project brief on World AIDS Day described the event as an occasion “to remind the public and Government that HIV has not gone away – there is still a vital need to raise money, increase awareness, fight prejudice and improve education.” They expected the visibility of partners from private sector, faith-based and community workers, and Government health providers, and attendance of youth and community leaders in Metro Manila and neighboring urban areas.

PPA is the pioneering organization of people living with HIV (PLHIV), and is a member of PNAC. The Council, per Republic Act 8504, or the national AIDS law is the multi-sectoral advisory, planning and policy-making body for the country’s response to the HIV and AIDS epidemic.

Latest data from the Department of Health shows that over 20,000 Filipinos are confirmed HIV-positive cases. But this could only be half of the actual PLHIV population. In PNAC’s last report to the United Nations, PLHIVs’ access to antiretroviral treatment is over 80 percent. This treatment improves patients’ survival even while there still is no proven cure to the HIV disease.

In time for World AIDS Day, UNAIDS also launched the “Close the Gap” campaign. It envisions that by 2020 global AIDS response will achieve 90 percent of PLHIV on treatment gained viral suppression, 90 percent of PLHIV in need received treatment, and 90 percent of PLHIV already knew their status. This early, Philippines’ treatment coverage nears the mark, but not yet for HIV testing.

Coverage remains low on high HIV-risk populations getting tested and knowing their results – as low as three and not better than 15 percent. Among males who have sex with males and transgender women, prevalence is already over three and five percent, respectively. However, HIV prevalence is still less than one percent in the general population.

In a media interview during one promotional leg of Kalusugan Pangkalahatan, acting health secretary Janette Loreto-Garin surmised that AIDS-related stigma and discrimination, including lack of support among families of PLHIV pull down success of the HIV and AIDS programs.

PPA hoped that through World AIDS Day, stigma and discrimination faced by PLHIVs would begin to resolve with the youth’s and community leaders’ improved understanding of the epidemic, and stronger commitment in HIV and AIDS advocacy.

N.B. Per request from the boss, I prepared this Press Release last Friday, 28 November. An office mate informed me that today, just before the actual celebration was staged, the text was revised. But I didn’t find out how. I was already attending another World AIDS Day event as a representative of the office and guest speaker.

UPDATE (02 Dec): The revised Press Release was uploaded on PNAC’s website. Download here.

Close the gap

Few days ago, a colleague from UNAIDS Philippines sent me an advisory on their Close the Gap campaign launched in time for 2014 World AIDS Day. It encouraged their partners to share online (and elsewhere) images that contain issues common to HIV and AIDS responses of member-states in the Asia-Pacific region. The image set is very eye-catching, their messages very thought-provoking, so I made a slideshow to showcase the images on this post. Click here for more information on the campaign, and click here for more campaign materials. And tomorrow, it’s World AIDS Day! So get clickin’.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In the lead up to World AIDS Day this Monday, UNAIDS Asia-Pacific has released a new set of graphics highlighting the crucial areas where our region must Close the Gap.

We ask for your support by sharing the messages most important to you, on your social networks, using the hashtag #CloseTheGapAP

Suggested tweets include:

Or find all graphics in this Facebook photo album.

Calendar baby

One of my early initiatives as staff of the PNAC Secretariat was the Calendar of Events, a coordination procedure that gathers event information from partners, plotting them on a timeline, and publishing a calendar. I first tried it out on activities related to, leading to, and directly in observance of the 2011 World AIDS Day.

Promotion of 2011 World AIDS Day Calendar of Events

Promotion of 2011 World AIDS Day Calendar of Events

I first developed a data capture form to standardize required information, then sent out invitation letters, and promoted on social media. Oh, and help from UNAIDS colleagues surely got it going.

As pet project, I initially aimed to produce calendars for special events related to the AIDS Candlelight Memorial and World AIDS Day. Long term, I did envision the initiative to become a routine part of the Secretariat’s monthly coordination work. I even started thinking of scale-up possibilities like setting up a Web-based tool for our partners’ convenience.

(I also thought this could be a good tool for publicity and media relations.)

But since the Council‘s 2011 observance has gone down history by way of infamy, the initiative had languished in the succeeding years.

When the boss instructed a co-worker to inquire from partners what they have scheduled for 2014 World AIDS Day, I took my chance and offered my co-worker to resurrect the procedure. The response was fairly good, and the results you can see on the top-most featured pic.

Call for Event Submissions for 2014 World AIDS Day

Call for Event Submissions for 2014 World AIDS Day

The initiative is no longer just mine. I really just have a supporting role now. But the procedure made a good impression among my co-workers, and conversations in improving the system emerged once again. So I’m not one to complain.

Rush job

As I mentioned in a previous post, last year, our office organized alternative tactics to show our solidarity in the global celebration of World AIDS Day. I assisted our Health Education and Promotion Officer in “dressing up” the Department of Health for the occasion such as coming up with a concept study for the electronic billboard, and drafting a Solidarity Statement that was to be read during the staff flag ceremony Monday before World AIDS Day.

The images on this post consisted the billboard study, but I wasn’t able to document how the study actually got executed. I also learned later that the statement was not read at the flag ceremony as intended. But I did use the text as caption for my social media initiative. I’m sharing the text here, which if I may say so, turned out fairly well put despite being a “rush job.”

On December 1, the Philippines will unite with the rest of the world in celebrating World AIDS Day. One of the most recognized global health events, World AIDS Day had served as venue to mobilize communities, to broker unique partnerships, to remember those who passed away, and to celebrate gains in national responses.

The World AIDS Day theme “Getting to Zero” refers to the commitment made by member-nations of the United Nations towards the vision of a world without AIDS. The theme speaks of hope that by 2015, at the end of the line of the Millennium Development Goals, the world will witness the greatest gains in combating HIV and AIDS ever since the MDGs were launched in 2000.

Getting to Zero specifies three ambitious goals: zero discrimination, zero new HIV infections, and zero AIDS-related deaths.

From today until the end of this year, the Philippine National AIDS Council enjoins everyone to contribute in unique ways to Getting to Zero. Let us all help halt the spread of HIV.

Electronic billboard study for 2013 World AIDS Day, first key message

Electronic billboard study for 2013 World AIDS Day, first key message

2013-WAD_DOH-Display_03

Electronic billboard study for 2013 World AIDS Day, second key message.

Electronic billboard study for 2013 World AIDS Day, third key message.

Electronic billboard study for 2013 World AIDS Day, third key message.

Most wonderful time

Quite more often now, you’d be hearing Christmas carols like the Andy Williams classic. Filipinos seem to look forward to the next Christmas season as soon as it’s over. For us working on the National HIV and AIDS Response, however, there’s also the run-up to December 1, World AIDS Day. In some other way, for me at least, it’s also a most wonderful time. Last year, though, not so much.

Because of the need to focus on relief efforts to the areas devastated by Super Typhoon Yolanda (International Codename: Haiyan), many trainings and campaigns led by the Department of Health were put on hold. But we never held off our commitment to global solidarity in HIV and AIDS advocacy – however small, the PNAC Secretariat still wanted to be part of this international observance.

For my part, I devised a series of social media based communication tactics. I played with mash-ups of visual themes on the “Getting to Zero” theme, and the Yuletide season’s symbolic objects, particularly with round objects. There’s this folk belief of round objects as symbols of ushering prosperity and good tidings for the future.

pnac_fb-calendar_20131123

First of the Series: Zero AIDS-related discrimination, released on social media 24 November 2013.

pnac_fb-calendar_20131126

Second of the Series: Zero new HIV infections, released on social media 26 November 2013.

pnac_fb-calendar_20131128

Third of the Series: Zero AIDS-related deaths, released on social media 28 November 2013.

On the eve of World AIDS Day, featured picture first above was released on social media. The office’s Facebook profile picture was also changed as below.

pnac_fb-profile_20131130

August National Museum

On a rainy 24th of August, determined to make the most of my leave from office, I visited the National Art Gallery of the National Museum. I was enrolled in an Art Studies elective in college when I last went to the Gallery. I remember boxes of specimens and artifacts littered the hallways. The Museum used to share space with the Senate of the Philippines.

So imagine my pleasantly surprised self after walking through very clean and orderly hallways and galleries, everything impeccably curated. I could live here for days just absorbing all the art, I thought. And the shutterbug in me was equally enthralled: cameras are allowed (sans flash).

With the help of Pixlr Express, I created thematic tiled photos, and shared them on Facebook.

Hello world!

Welcome to WordPress.com! This is your very first post. Click the Edit link to modify or delete it, or start a new post. If you like, use this post to tell readers why you started this blog and what you plan to do with it.

Happy blogging!

“Hello world!” the WordPress auto post exclaimed on 10 June 2012. Two years, five months, and 12 days after, all I had was “hello world!”

I’m definitely not new to blogging. My very first post was 24 July 2003. Which was followed with one on 12 September 2005. Two years, two months, and 12 days after.

(I sense a potential trend here.)

Someone once hypothesized blogging died when social networking became the Net’s next killer app. I could easily get on that blame bandwagon, but really, I don’t have an excuse.

Sometime in the middle of this year, the blogging itch resurfaced. I’m not sure what brought that on; then again, a lot of itching couldn’t be immediately attributed anyway. And so, with the combined graces of a fairly good connection to WordPress, and a convincing inner voice telling “go ahead, just do it”, here I am again. No guarantees, though.

Old blogging soul staging a come-back. This pic was featured in the Liwaliw incarnation on i.ph, a defunct free blogging service by dot.ph

Old blogging soul staging a come-back. This pic was featured in the Liwaliw incarnation on i.ph, a defunct free blogging service by dot.ph

And of course, I’d have to battle with my own wits as to why I’m venturing to blogging again. To give meaning to actions is somewhat a nerdiness I’ve acquired in my line of work. So now, here are the first words I’ve strung together when I first edited this post: “GlennCruz.wordpress.com, or LIWALIW, shall be an enterprise of knowledge sharing that for sharing’s sake is only secondary to have the author be reminded of his own occupations, interests and thoughts.” Ha!