Nancy Binay hits DOH’s ‘half-baked idea’ on cancer program budget
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Nancy Binay on Thursday slammed the Department of Health’s “half-baked idea” when it removed the line item funding for the country’s cancer program as proposed in the 2022 national budget.
Instead of a line item, Binay said the DOH had subsumed the National Integrated Cancer Control (NICC) Program, including cancer medicines for children, and the Cancer Assistance Fund under the fund for non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
DOH is proposing P1.3 billion budget for NCDs next year.
“Hindi katanggap-tanggap na tila hindi permanenteng priority ang suporta para sa mga cancer patients natin. Dahil nakabulto lang sa NCD budget, walang linaw kung magkano ba talaga ang nakalaan, at ang pangamba ay baka paglaruan lang ang budget na ito,” Binay said in a statement.
(It’s not acceptable that support for cancer patients is not permanent. Because it’s just bulked in with the NCD budget, it’s not clear exactly how much is allocated, and there could be doubts that the budget can just be played around with.)
“This is another half-baked idea that the DOH is trying to implement, which again puts in question the priorities of its leadership,” she added.
Binay described this move a “step back,” noting that Congress “had gone through a lot of hoops to fully empower the national cancer control program.”
In the 2021 budget, Cancer Control Program was allotted P500 million while P120 million went to Cancer Assistance Fund. Cancer control program gets P620-M budget
“The DOH should have taken our cue when we allocated P620 million last year for cancer. Batas ‘yan (That is a law), at long-term priority,” she pointed out.
“Instead of moving forward this is a step back that we should correct. When survival matters, you don’t make lifelines invisible,” the senator further said.
Binay then vowed to “rectify the mis-step” by filing an amendment to the DOH’s proposal when the proposed 2022 national budget reaches the Senate.
The senator also questioned the continued failure to convene the NICC Council, which she said is tasked with formulating the country’s policy response to cancer.
“This issue over the budget stems from the lack of a clear policy direction which the NICC Council has the responsibility of crafting,” Binay said.
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