Speaker Lord Allan Velasco on Wednesday guaranteed funding for the implementation of Republic Act 11215 or the National Integrated Cancer Control Act of 2019 to ensure access to quality and affordable care for Filipino cancer patients and survivors.
This developed as Davao City Rep. Paolo Duterte urged Velasco and ACT CIS Partylist Rep. Eric Go Yap, chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, to ensure enough funds that will help cancer patients.
Duterte, eldest son of President Duterte, said that cancer patients are hoping for government support to help them fight the dreaded disease and survive like his mother, Elizabeth.
Duterte, chairman of the House Committee on Accounts, underscored the need to “prioritize the needs of our fellow country men specially those who don’t have enough income or capabilities to survive their illnesses.”
“My Mom is cancer survivor. Diagnosed in 2016 and successfully recovered more than a year after treatment and long-term survivorship transitions. It is our duty to provide help to every fellow citizens to our best. Give them a second chance to live,” he said.
Velasco said the Lower House representatives will push for adequate funding for the NICC law during the bicameral conference on the proposed P4.506-trillion national budget for 2021.
“The importance of this law and its full implementation cannot be overstated. We have to make sure that it is sufficiently funded so it could effectively serve its purpose of strengthening government efforts to combat cancer and increasing the fighting chance of patients to overcome the disease,” Velasco said.
“Congressman Pulong and I want to make sure that cancer treatment and care will be more equitable and affordable for all, especially for the underprivileged, poor and marginalized Filipinos as envisioned in the NICC law,” Velasco said, noting that cancer care and treatment could be costly.
According to Velasco studies have shown that cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the Philippines, and it could “take a toll on people’s health and finances.”
RA 11215 aims to provide quality cancer health services and financial risk protection to alleviate the financial burden of Filipinos diagnosed with cancer and those who care for them.
Known as the Cancer Control Law, RA 11215 mandates the establishment of the Philippine Cancer Center which will provide inter-disciplinary care that will allow better access to care services and medicines from preventive, curative to healing at an affordable cost.
The bill also mandates the creation of a Cancer Control Fund and the development of relevant Philhealth packages for patients diagnosed with the disease.
Citing the Global Data on Cancer 2018 report, the Department of Health disclosed that in the Philippines there are over 140,000 total recorded new cases of cancer diagnosis annually.
Of this total, 4,000 and more are children.
The report also recorded 80,000 cancer deaths annually in the Philippines. Top causes are lung, liver, colon and breast cancers.