The Parañaque City Government headed by Mayor Florencio Bernabe earned the distinction for its efforts in promoting health projects and programs in disease prevention as it was chosen as the winner of the emerging Local C.H.A.M.P. (Catalytic HIV and AIDS Mitigation Programme) under the Leadership for Effective and Sustained Responses to HIV and AIDS component implemented by the Local Government Academy (L.G.A.), the training arm of the Department of Interior and Local Government (D.I.LG.) and the United Nations Development Programme (U.N.D.P.).
As Local C.H.A.M.P. winner, this LGU received Php 50,000 and a plaque during the recognition rites which coincided with the observance of the World AIDS Day on Wednesday, December 1, 2010 at the Hyatt Hotel and Casino Manila. Parañaque won the said award on the merits of its “Baluti Program”.
Baluti which stands for “Batang Laging Umiiwas sa Tiyak na Impeksyon” (Protect the Child from Infection) was born when a handful of the city’s peer educators realized that young people like them need more straightforward talk and practical advice to protect themselves from HIV/AIDS.
Using a unique strategy called “Give-Me-5-Approach”, it created a positive change in behavior of adolescents at risk for early sexual debut, teenage pregnancy, unwanted conception, unsafe abortions, sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS.
The program is currently being implemented the four sitios of Brgy. San Dionisio namely Kaybuboy/Himlayang Palanyag, Espiritu Compound, back of Lorenzana and Bernabe Compounds.
The approaches utilized in the program starts with visitation where counselors meet with adolescents; followed by information where they inform the youths about the dangers of unsafe sex.
This is followed by explanations where they elaborate on the effects and consequences of these acts on themselves and others which lead to options where the youth makes decisions with the supervision of counselors.
Follow-up visitations are then made to see what progress he or she is making. Methodologies include film showings, parent education, home visits and use of other educational materials to educate teens and their parents as well as surveys to assess the program’s progress.
As of 2009, 15,840 teens have taken part in the program.
“HIV/AIDS is a grave concern for everyone regardless of age, gender and social class plus the fact that there is still no cure for the disease, the reason why everyone needs to be involved in the war against this disease.”, Mayor Bernabe said.
Baluti Program implementation is being handled by Medical Officer V Dr. Ma. Dolores Mathias of the San Dionisio Health Center under the supervision of Parañaque City Health Officer Dr. Olga Virtusio. Local government performance is monitored by D.I.L.G. Parañaque Office headed by Dir. Gloria Aguhar C.E.S.E.