MANILA, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has signed a new law that provides for the establishment of policies and programs to prevent the spread of HIV infections in the Philippines, a presidential spokesman said on Wednesday.
Salvador Panelo, also the chief presidential legal counsel, said Duterte signed into law the Philippine HIV and AIDS Policy Act of 2018 on December 20.
"We consider its enactment and signing timely and relevant on account of the report of the Department of Health disclosing that our country has the highest percentage relative to the increase of new HIV cases in the Asia-Pacific region from 2010 to 2016," Panelo said in a statement.
Also Panelo said that the new law provides for the establishment of policies and programs to deliver proper treatment, care and support services to Filipinos living with HIV in accordance with evidence-based strategies and approaches which are in tune with key principles of human rights, gender equality and meaningful participation of communities.
"This piece of landmark legislation will significantly reduce the stigma of people living with HIV or AIDS," Panelo added.
Panelo lauded the lawmakers including various stakeholders who immensely contributed to the passage of an updated legal framework addressing HIV and AIDS.
The Department of Health (DOH) has voiced alarm over the spread in the Philippines of HIV that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).
Health Secretary Francisco Duque said the number of Filipinos affected by HIV/AIDS "have drastically increased over the last couple of years."