Lawmakers are pushing for the establishment of a P10- billion fund to finance the treatment and care of indigent cancer patients.
Davao City Rep. Paolo Duterte, Benguet Rep. Eric Yap and ACT-CIS Party-list Rep. Edvic Yap said their House Bill (HB) 7687 aims to strengthen the existing cancer assistance fund mandated under the National Integrated Cancer Control Act or the Republic Act 11215.
Lawmakers said despite the enactment of RA 11215 and the creation of this assistance fund, cancer patients from low-income households continue to bear the financial burden of their medical care and treatment.
Under the bill, their proposed P10-billion Cancer Medicine and Treatment Fund will be administered by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) through its accredited government hospitals.
“The program shall be limited to indigent and underprivileged cancer patient beneficiaries to be identified by PhilHealth in close coordination with the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Department of Health [DOH], and the Department of the Interior and Local Government [DILG],” the bill said.
Following the creation of the Fund and the initial appropriation of P10 billion, the national government shall subsequently include the necessary amount to continue and carry out its objectives in the annual budget of the Department of Health (DOH), according to the bill.
A study done by the University of the Philippines Manila’s Institute of Human Genetics found that 189 of every 100,000 Filipinos are afflicted with cancer. In comparison, four Filipinos die of cancer every hour, or 96 cancer patients every day.
Cancer, which affects all age groups, is now the second leading cause of mortality in the country after diseases of the heart and the vascular system, according to the UP study.
In 2020, over 150,000 new cases and 90,000 deaths were recorded. During the first half of 2021, over 27,000 deaths from cancer were recorded by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) or 9 percent of the total deaths during this period.