Nancy slams DOH for removal of an item for cancer research in 2022 budget

Nancy slams DOH for removal of an item for cancer research in 2022 budget

By Ernie Reyes

MANILA — Senator Nancy Binay today slammed the removal of the line item for the
country’s cancer fund for 2022 by the Department of Health, saying it
was a “step back” after Congress “had gone through a lot of hoops to
fully empower the national cancer control program.”

“The DOH should have taken our cue when we allocated P620 million last
year for cancer. Batas ‘yan, at long-term priority. Instead of moving
forward, this is a step back that we should correct. When survival
matters, you don’t make lifelines invisible,” Binay said.

The P620-million cancer fund for 2021 was only included during the
bicameral conference for the national budget. It consists of the
P500-million Cancer Control Program fund and the P120-million Cancer
Assistance fund.

The senator vowed to rectify the mis-step by filing an amendment
during the Senate’s deliberations on the DOH’s proposed budget for
2022.

The Cancer Coalition of the Philippines earlier sounded the alarm over
the removal of the cancer fund line item in next year’s budget.

Instead of a line item, the DOH had subsumed the National Integrated
Cancer Control Program (including cancer medicines for children) and
the Cancer Assistance Fund under the fund for non-communicable
diseases.

The proposed fund for NCDs amounts to P1.3 billion.

“This is a direct violation of the provisions under NICCA,” the
coalition stated in a position paper.

“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.

“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.

Based on the World Health Organization’s Global Cancer Observatory,
more than 153,000 new cases of cancer were recorded in the country in

  1. It is the second leading cause of death for Filipinos, with
    62,300 deaths were tallied last year.

The senator also questioned the continued failure to convene the
National Integrated Cancer Control Council, which 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,”
she said. (ai/mtvn)

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