An opposition congressman has lauded the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the Department of Health (DOH) for ensuring the availability of over P500-million worth of financial assistance to Filipino cancer patients.
“We applaud and thank the DBM, particularly Secretary Amenah Pangandaman, and the DOH for heeding our incessant call to provide funding for the government’s cancer assistance program, which is a vital component of Republic Act 11215 or the National Integrated Cancer Control (NICC) Act of 2019,” House Deputy Minority Leader Bernadette Herrera said.
“With this funding, the government can now provide life-saving support to cancer patients and their families who are facing financial challenges, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Herrera of the Henerasyon party-list.
The DBM recently announced that the cancer assistance fund (CAF) worth P529.2 million can now be used until the end of 2023.
According to the DBM, the allocation was included in the 2022 budget of the DOH under RA 11215 which provides, among others, financial support for cancer patients, persons living with cancer, and survivors.
The funds were released after the DBM and the DOH signed a joint memorandum circular outlining the CAF guidelines.
It will be recalled that Herrera vowed to exert all efforts to restore in the 2023 national budget the P500 million line item allocation for cancer patients after finding out that it was not included in the 2023 National Expenditure Program submitted by DBM to Congress.
“We will do everything in our power to make sure that the cancer assistance fund will be included in the final version of the 2023 national budget,” Herrera then said.
The NICC Act, which was signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte in February 2019, establishes a National Integrated Cancer Control Program which would serve as the framework for all cancer-related activities of the government.
The program aims to decrease the overall mortality and impact of all adult and childhood cancer; lessen the incidence of preventable cancer in adults and children; and prevent cancer recurrence, metastasis, and secondary cancer among survivors and people living with cancer.
It also seeks to provide timely access to optimal cancer treatment and care for all cancer patients; make cancer treatment and care more affordable and accessible; improve the experience of cancer treatment and care of patients and families; support the recovery and reintegration to society of the cancer survivors; and eliminate various forms of burden on patients, people living with cancer, survivors and their families.