MANILA, Philippines — Proper funding is needed to enforce a law seeking to implement a national framework to fight cancer, according to a former official of the Department of Health (DOH) on Saturday.
During the Laging Handa press briefing, former DOH undersecretary Dr. Madeleine Valera expressed hope that the government will give the right budget to implement Republic Act 11215 or the National Integrated Cancer Control Act (NICCA).
“Alam ko medyo hirap tayo sa budget dahil meron nga tayong COVID pero sana naman mabigyan din ng tamang budget ang NICCA kasi useless magkaroon ng law kung wala naman tayong budget para ma-implement at maibahagi sa mga pasyente,” Valera said.
(I know we are on a tight budget because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but I hope the NICCA will also be allocated with a budget because it is useless to have a law if we cannot fund it to be implemented and shared to the patients.)
The NICCA, signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte last February 2019, “shall adopt an integrated and comprehensive approach to health development which includes the strengthening of integrative, multidisciplinary, patient, and family centered cancer control policies, programs, systems, interventions and services at all levels of the existing health care delivery system.”
The law aims to establish the National Integrated Cancer Control Program which seeks to prevent deaths from cancer by providing “affordable and accessible” medical treatment.
Another provision of the law also mandates the creation of a national cancer council which, Valera said, still has not been formed.
She then appealed to her former colleague, DOH spokesperson and Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.
“Sana maibulong niya na baka naman ma-set up na natin ang national cancer council na composed ng mga dalubhasa sa cancer ng mga doktor, mga surgeons, cancer patients’ group at cancer advocates na tumutulong para gumawa ng polisiya tungkol sa cancer care,” Valera said.
(I hope she can urge the department to set up a national cancer council composed of prestigious cancer doctors, surgeons, cancer patients’ groups and cancer advocates who craft a policy about cancer care.)
House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco previously said that the House of Representatives will push for adequate funding for the implementation of NICCA when the proposed P4.5 trillion 2021 national budget reaches the bicameral conference committee.