Bong Go pushes for increased cancer assistance fund
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Christopher “Bong Go” emphasized the importance of allocating sufficient funds for specific healthcare programs, such as those addressing cancer, tuberculosis, and mental health disorders, during the Committee on Finance hearing for the Department of Health’s (DOH) budget on Thursday, September 28.
“We must also give enough focus and ensure funding for our programs to address other diseases such as cancer, tuberculosis, and mental health disorders,” Go said.
He pointed out that the Cancer Assistance Fund (CAF) for this year was set at P500 million through the collective efforts of lawmakers last year. Go proposed for this to be doubled to P1 billion for the next year. However, he expressed concern over the current reported underutilization of the fund.
“Pakisilip po ninyo ito. Sa dami ng cancer patients na nangangailangan ng tulong, sigurado naman pong mauubos yan at hindi katanggap-tanggap na hindi ninyo magastos ang pondo sa pagtulong sa kanila,” he added.
Drawing from his previous advocacy, Go has been a consistent voice for increased funding for the CAF. “Dapat patuloy na pataasin ang budget para sa cancer assistance fund,” he said in an earlier interview.
He also stressed the financial burden that cancer places on families, stating, “Talagang pipilayan ang pamilya tuwing nagkakanser ka, pilay na po ang inyong pamilya, halos hindi na po nakakatrabaho ‘yan, nakafocus na po sa pagpapagamot.”
The senator’s call for increased funding aligns with the National Integrated Cancer Control Act (NICCA), under Republic Act No. 11215, signed by former president Rodrigo Duterte in 2019. Within NICCA, CAF plays a pivotal role in offering financial support to cancer patients across the nation.
“The more na dapat po ay dagdagan natin ang pondo para sa cancer assistance fund, the more we should invest sa ating healthcare system,” Go urged.
He also emphasized the need to bridge the gap between the high cost of cancer treatment and the financial means of those who need it most.
“It is for this reason that he continues to advocate for a larger allocation for the CAF and recognizes that every peso invested in cancer assistance is an investment in the health and well-being of countless individuals and their families,” he said.
Furthermore, Go expressed his support for a proposed cancer fund intended to aid Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), a project championed by the late Secretary Susan “Toots” Ople of the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW).
“This initiative highlights the urgent requirement to offer aid and compassion to the modern-day heroes who are confronting cancer while working far away from their homes,” he concluded.