QC lawmaker wants PH to have own cancer institute
MANILA, Philippines — Quezon City 1st District Rep. Juan Carlos Atayde is pushing for the creation of a cancer institute in the Philippines in a bid to address one of the country’s leading causes of mortality.
Atayde said in a statement Friday said that his House Bill No. 3079, which calls for a National Cancer Institute of the Philippines (NCIP), has remained pending at the House committee on health. He said he filed the measure on August 3, 2022, and was referred to the panel during a plenary session on August 8.
“We must aim for more cancer survivors than to see some cancer fatalities in years to come that’s why we need an institute that will formulate and promote the implementation of a comprehensive cancer control plan with the aim of overcoming the disease,” he said.
According to Atayde, there is a need to establish an institution that would ensure that cancer patients have a healthy environment and access to approved drugs or medical systems and devices that are important in treatment.
If enacted, Atayde’s bill would create a National Cancer Advisory Board (NCAB) that would formulate policies for curbing cancer cases while tending to patients with existing ailments. The NCAB would also monitor the activities being done by the proposed NCIP.
The lawmaker said this proposal is important because patients need to get the appropriate treatment while ensuring that all patients have an equitable access to medical care regardless of the patient’s financial capability.
“Every cancer patient will be treated fair — poor or rich — under the NCIP once it is enacted to a law,” he claimed.
“The NCIP must also strengthen policies on cancer prevention through education and information dissemination to the public by health care professionals and institutions as well,” he added.
Atayde recently made a visit to cancer patients in two Quezon City hospitals — East Avenue Medical Center and Philippine Children’s Medical Center — where he checked on the status of patients. He also held a consultative discussion with hospital administrators.
“We checked the situation of the patients and we held a consultative discussion with the administrators of both East Avenue Medical and Philippine Children’s Medical Center to find out the present situation of the facilities of the hospitals,” he said.
“It’s a fruitful discussion between us and the hospital administrators, so in a few days, we can prepare the supplies that we can give to our cancer patients and the hospitals. This is part of my advocacy to provide medical assistance to the people of our district and others as well,” he added.
According to the latest figures from the Philippine Statistics Authority, cancer is now the third leading cause of death in the country with 10.2 percent of the total deaths recorded in 2022 attributed to the said illness.
This also comes as the Department of Health noted that the number of deaths due to COVID-19 has been decreasing, which means that the country is now able to manage the pandemic – although it also signaled the return of non-communicable diseases such as cancer as topmost causes of deaths in the Philippines.
The increase in cancer deaths has prompted advocates to ask lawmakers to provide a bigger budget to programs against cancer so that patients can have access to treatment and have better chances of recovery.