The Three-In-One Red Letter Day
It’s a slow news day.
So it isn’t really surprising that stories making headlines focus on three are contrasting aspects of February the 14th.
The Department of Health, now headed by a female, earned Malacanang’s ire for it’s safe sex promotions stunt: handing out free condoms at a public market to highlight that there’s been a surge of AIDS cases, particularly involving Filipino youths working at call centers.
Ricardo Saludo, deputy presidential spokesman:
It is only now that I have heard of such a programme. The government has no programme to give away condoms.
The condom project is part of the DoH’s drive against the spread of sexually transmitted diseases under the ‘Ingat Lagi, My Valentine programme’ (Always be careful, my Valentine partner).
The Arroyo administration has been very careful about endorsing the use of condoms for fear of a backlash from the conservative Roman Catholic Church.
But the health department says that in December 2009 alone, a total of 126 HIV/AIDS cases were reported.
For the whole of 2009, 835 people contracted the deadly virus, much higher than the 110 new infections reported in 2008.
A total of 4,424 cases of HIV/AIDS have been reported in the country since 1984, but health experts warned that the number of unreported AIDS cases could take the total as high as 10,000.
It’s also widely perceived that efforts of enact a law on reproductive health have been stymied because of quite but strong opposition from the Catholic Church.
On a less serious but still disturbing note, the old Filipino favourite song, Frank Sinatra’s ‘My Way’ is being tagged as a killer song, literally.
Even the New York Times is reporting that “at least a half dozen murders over the past decade were allegedly linked to karaoke bar singers delivering particularly dreadful renditions of My Way, with violence the result. Some bars have since taken the song off their available karaoke list.”
Amateur singer Rodolfo Gregorio:
The trouble with My Way is that everyone knows it and everyone has an opinion. I used to like My Way, but after all the trouble I stopped singing it. You can get killed.
On the gastronomic side of the equation, Filipinos are celebrating their kinship with Chinese tradition by exchanging Kung Hey Fat Chouys and gorging on tikoy as they welcome the year of the metal tiger!
How’s that for marking February 14!!!