Tag Archives: Rivera

Gensan’s growing HIV-AIDS cases

In 2011, Dr. Mely Lastimoso said there were only 28  recorded cases of persons infected with HIV-AIDS.

Today, as the city observes World AIDS Day, there are already 171 people infected with the life-threatening human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), four of them involving mother and child transmission.

“Our data shows four families and their children were infected,” Dr. Lastimoso said in a letter to Mayor Ronnel Rivera.

The city mayor, in turn, said, “We need to double our efforts in combating HIV-AIDS as well as increase awareness and understanding of the infection.”

"We need to double our efforts in combating HIV-AIDS as well as increase awareness and understanding of the infection" - General Santos City Mayor Ronnel Rivera.PHOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO
“We need to double our efforts in combating HIV-AIDS as well as increase awareness and understanding of the infection” – General Santos City Mayor Ronnel Rivera.PHOTO BY EDWIN ESPEJO

HIV damages the immune system of a person afflicted by the virus and interferes with the body’s ability to fight organisms that cause even the most common illness such as colds and pneumonia.

Once infected, an HIV-positive person will carry the virus for the rest of his or her life.

If it cannot be slowed down, HIV could develop into a full blown acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), a deadly and incurable progression of the virus.

Dr. Lastimoso said most of the 171 HIV cases they are monitoring involve young professionals with age range between 21-26 years old.

She said they are alarmed over the rising number of people with HIV in the city.

Over the last few months, she said, they have been monitoring an average of one new HIV case a day.

Dr. Lastimoso said more city residents may be infected with the virus as their testing has been limited to those who volunteer to undergo the HIV tests.

“Surprisingly,” Lastimoso however said, “a handful of HIV infected cases in General Santos City involve professionals.”

This, she said, has shattered the traditional belief that HIV-AIDS only infects sex workers and homosexuals.

Lastimoso also confirmed that a well-known businessman who died several years ago was confirmed to have acquired the virus.

She declined to identify the victim.

HIV is primarily transmitted through sexual contact with an infected person and exchange of body fluids.

It can likewise be spread by contact with infected blood through transfusion or sharing of intravenous needles from infected person.

It cans also be transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth or breast-feeding.

It can take years before HIV totally weakens the immune system and develop into AIDS.

Mayor Rivera welcomes celeb filmmaker

GENERAL SANTOS CITY – Saying the city has a thriving community of filmmakers, Mayor Ronnel Rivera on Wednesday welcomed award-winning Pepe Diokno who gave a lecture to some 2,000 film enthusiasts and students.

“I am glad that Direk Pepe Diokno honored us by accepting our invitation para ibahagi ang kanyang kaalaman at kadalubhasaan sa sining ng pelikula (to share his knowledge and expertise in film art),” the city mayor said in welcoming Diokno.

General Santos City Mayor Ronnel Rivera (right) hands out a plaque to award-winning film director Pepe Diokno, grandson of the late Sen. Jose Diokno.FOTO BY CPIO
General Santos City Mayor Ronnel Rivera (right) hands out a plaque to award-winning film director Pepe Diokno, grandson of the late Sen. Jose Diokno.FOTO BY CPIO

The young film maker urged budding filmmakers to continue make films and hone their skills and to watch and patronize Filipino feature movies as well ‘indie’ films.

The best way to make quality films is to continue to make them.

His debut film ‘Engkewntro’ won the “Luigi de Laurentiis” (Lion of the Future) Award for Best Debut Film at the Venice Film Festival in 2009.

The same film also bagged the Best Asian Film, for the Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema Prize at the Jeonju International Film Festival in Seoul, Korea.

It was likewise voted Best in Editing in the prestigious Urian Award also in 2009.

“As a city with an amalgam of culture, we have rich history and tradition that are very excellent materials for short films and even full feature movies,” Mayor Rivera said in his message.

He added that Wednesday’s activity was part of the Lecture Series “which my wife Jane and her colleagues in the General Santos City Tourism Council are initiating and organizing.”

“It is,” he added, “designed to help cultivate and discover talents and artists in the city.”

General Santos was once home to the late National Artist Manuel Conde who produced and directed the classic Genghis Khan and Juan Tamad movies.

Touching base – Rivera describes US envoy visit

GENERAL SANTOS CITY – Meeting up with local government officials and businessmen.

This was how General Santos City Mayor Ronnel Rivera described the visit today of US Ambassador Philip Goldberg.

General Santos City Mayor Ronnel Rivera (right) welcomes US Ambassador Philip Goldberg (middle) at the city hall.Pic by Edwin Espejo
General Santos City Mayor Ronnel Rivera (right) welcomes US Ambassador Philip Goldberg (middle) at the city hall.Pic by Edwin Espejo

Goldberg arrived here on board a US embassy airplane and quickly proceeded to the General Santos City Fish Port Complex before making a courtesy call to the office of the city mayor.

The 30-minute meeting was off limits to the media with only Mayor Rivera, Vice Mayor Shirlyn Bañas, City Administrator Arnel Zapatos and City Legal Officer Armand Clarin holding conference with Glodberg and 3 other embassy officials.

US Ambassador Philip Goldberg (in blue shirt) holds a closed door meting with Mayor Rivera and Vice Mayor Shirlyn Bañas (left).Pic by Edwin Espejo
US Ambassador Philip Goldberg (in blue shirt) holds a closed door meting with Mayor Rivera and Vice Mayor Shirlyn Bañas (left).Pic by Edwin Espejo

He did not field questions from the media who waited at the city hall lobby.

“The ambassador wanted to personally see General Santos City after reading and hearing about our place,” the city mayor said.

Rivera said the visit was also a result of an invitation he extended to the US Ambassador when they were introduced together at a function of the American Chamber of Commerce and Industry several months ago.

Goldberg also had a luncheon meeting with members of the General Santos City Chamber of Commerce and Industry at the Greenleaf Hotel.

He later told the local station of ABS-CBN that the US is upbeat on the potential of Mindanao in agriculture and mining but also expressed concerns over delays and obstacles in obtaining licenses and permits for mining companies.

The US ambassador likewise said grants and aids from the American government are now geared towards areas in Mindanao recovering from armed conflict.

“In a way,” banker Orman Manansala said, “we have become victim of our own success.”

General Santos was recipient of one of the largest grants from the US government by way of funding the construction of the city’s airport facilities.

It was part of the international pledging session during the early years of the Cory Aquino administration.

Construction of the airport began in 1993 and was finished in 1996.

Built at the cost of US$47.6 million largely funded by USAID, it was inaugurated for commercial flights shortly thereafter.

3 killed in buy drug bust operation

GENERAL SANTOS CITY – Three alleged drug dealers were killed in a buy-bust operation in Fatima Village Friday evening as police campaign against illegal drugs continue to step up here.

Slain in the sting operation were Julie Bustamante, Lloyd Diesta and Ron Panes.

Police Chief Inspector Maximo Sebastian of the regional special investigation and detection team in Region 12 (RSID 12) told reporters the three slain suspected drug dealers engaged police operatives and elements of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency in a shootout after sensing they were being set up.

Police Chief Inspector Sebastian of the police regional intelligence unit.ABS-CBN screengrab photo from YouTube
Police Chief Inspector Maximo Sebastian of the police regional intelligence unit.ABS-CBN screengrab photo from YouTube

The encounter took place near the residence of Bustamante who was reportedly hit on the leg but died on arrival at the General Santos City District Hospital.

His other slain companions were also declared dead on arrival.

Reportedly recovered from the suspects were a .45 cal pistol and a .38 cal revolver and a hand grenade.

Also found were 9 sachets of suspected methamphetamine or shabu.

Sebastian also said the 3 were also believed behind the series of holdup and robbery incidents in the city.

He said the slain suspects are part of a bigger crime syndicate operating in the city.

The police intelligence chief also said they are ascertaining if one of the slain suspects is the same alias “Boyong” that has been a subject of massive manhunt operations by police authorities.

Police have stepped up anti-drug campaign following a strongly worded appeal by City Mayor Ronnel Rivera to clean up the city from illegal drug syndicates by December.

In his State of the City Address in August, the city mayor threatened to cut off support to the police illegal drug syndicates and unexplained killings remain unabated.

On Thursday, police also arrested two suspected drug dealers also in the same barangay. Twelve sachets of shabu were also seized from the suspects.

On October 1, a suspected drug pusher was also slain in a shootout in Barangay after he held a child hostage when cornered by police operatives. (with reports from Jojo Bacalanmo)