Manila, Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles) – The Philippine Department of Health (DOH) is seriously pushing for the amendment of Republic Act 8504 or the Philippine AIDS Prevention and Control Act of 1998 in order to allow for the implementation of mandatory human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) screening, particularly for high-risk groups.
In a press briefing, Dr. Lyndon Lee, spokesman for the DOH clarified that the mandatory HIV screening they have been pushing would not be for the general public. “There are talks going around that mandatory HIV screening means requiring all Filipinos to submit themselves to test, we don’t mean it that way,” he said.
Lee said the proposed mandatory testing will only be for heterosexual Filipino married men who he said are at the highest risk for HIV because of their secret rendezvous during their out of town ‘business trips.’
“In our ‘macho society,’ ” Lee said, “it is the male heterosexual Filipino men who least practice protected sex with their spouses, mistresses and out-of-town flings because they feel they are less vulnerable to HIV exposure than the traditional high-risk groups like men who have sex with men, injection drug users and sex workers. Lee added that these men are the least likely to use condoms for fear that if they do, their spouses would suspect that they are cheating on them or are having an extra-marital affair.
Meanwhile, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, still feeling betrayed by the passage of the Reproductive Health (RH) Law, has refused to comment on the DOH proposal. The RH law provides for the distribution of condoms and birth control devices at government clinics.
Hollywood, California (The Adobo Chronicles) – Hollywood Productions announced today that it has begun filming its latest blockbuster movie, ‘The De Lima List,’ based on the true story of Philippine Secretary of Justice Leila de Lima, considered the country’s ‘Iron Lady.’
De Lima is known to be holding a signed affidavit from suspected pork barrel scandal mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles, containing a list of Philippine senators and other high-ranking politicians who have participated in the ten billion-peso scheme to divert taxpayer money to ghost projects and unsuspecting nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). Allegedly, the funds eventually went into the pockets of the politicians. To this day, de Lima has refused to make the list public and many suspect that more than half of the sitting senators are on that list.
The Hollywood film is directed by Steven Spielberg, the same Academy Award winning director responsible for the 1993 film ‘The Schindler’s List.’ Multi Oscar Award winner Meryl Streep, best known for her role as Margaret Thatcher in ‘Iron Lady,’ will play de Lima.
Streep, Spielberg and the production crew arrived in Manila Sunday.
Manila, Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles) – Kim Henares will go down in history as the most enterprising commissioner of the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), the Philippines’ tax agency.
She has been in the limelight for her personal crusade to collect taxes from the earnings of world Filipino boxing champ Manny Pacquiao. But she is not focusing only on the rich and famous. She has issued new policies taxing cigarettes and ultimately the cigarette vendors, as well as small business people who make a living by selling used items at flea markets and other short-time street festivals like the Christmas night market.
Now, in the boldest move yet in her career as the taxwoman, Henares has announced that all street food vendors will now be required to pay taxes and to issue official receipts for every sale. These include vendors of balut (boiled duck embryo), taho (sweet tofu snack), mani (roasted peanuts), barbecue pork, chicken, and other favorites like pig ears, chicken feet, and pork blood – more popularly known in the Philippines as walkman, adidas and betamax, respectively.
Balut and taho vendors will feel the brunt of the new regulations because in addition to the sales tax, they will be charged an additional 5% travel tax. Unlike other street vendors who set up stationary stalls along Metro Manila sidewalks, balut and taho vendors are constantly on their feet, moving from one neighborhood to another to sell their goods.