In Batangas, a different way to celebrate women’s day
More than 200 women from Sto. Tomas town, Batangas province, participated in a mass demonstration of the correct way to self-examine one’s breasts to highlight its critical role in the early detection and treatment of breast cancer, one of the top causes of death among women in the Philippines.
The event, dubbed “Sariling Salat ng Suso,” was timed for International Women’s Day on March 8 and the proclamation rally of Anakalusugan (Alagaan Natin Ating Kalusugan), the sole party-list group running on a health platform in the May 13 midterm polls.
“Health knows no political color or economic class,” said Mike Defensor, one of the party’s nominees.
Defensor said the party has a three-point agenda—ensure all maintenance medicines are given free through PhilHealth, free diagnostics tests and fixed allowance for barangay health workers and nutrition scholars.
Another nominee, Ower Andal, said free diagnostics tests and maintenance medicines were crucial in the preventive and curative aspects of health care.
In 2016, Andal said at least 60 percent of Filipinos who died of illnesses have not been able to see a doctor.
He said “prohibitive” costs of diagnostic tests and maintenance medicines prevent many Filipinos from getting proper health care.
The Sariling Salat ng Suso was organized by Anakalusugan and Klinika Ng Bayan, which gives free diagnostic tests and medicines in its facility in Sto. Tomas.
Dr. Arnie Marasigan-Aguirre said the increasing number of breast cancer cases in the country “should be a cause of alarm for all of us.”
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one out of four women who are diagnosed with breast cancer dies within the first five years.
“What is even more alarming is that 70 percent of breast cancer cases involve women without known risk factors,” Dr. Arlene Dominguita said.
The Philippines currently has the highest incidence rate of breast cancer in Asia, with one in every 13 Filipino women expected to develop breast cancer in her lifetime.
Defensor said Anakalusugan wanted to expand the Breast Cancer Medicines Access Program of the Department of Health to more areas in Visayas and Mindanao.
In Baguio City, at least 200 people gathered at Melvin Jones Grandstand to call for an end to injustice against women and children.
The group also celebrated the One Billion Rising movement which began in 2012.
A two-day summit was also held in Baguio to draft the Cordillera Women’s Agenda.
Among the issues in the draft was the demand for affordable living expenses through the revocation of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion law. —WITH A REPORT FROM VALERIE DAMIAN
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