Press Release
February 17, 2022

Bong Go vows to support more measures to assist cancer patients as PH marks 3rd anniversary of signing of NICCA

Senator and head of the Senate Committee on Health Christopher "Bong" Go reaffirmed his commitment to support more programs and measures to help ease the burden of Filipino cancer patients and their families as the country marks the third year since the National Integrated Cancer Control Act or Republic Act 11215 has been signed by the President on February 14.

Virtually joining the commemoration event of the signing of NICCA at the Acacia Hotel, Davao City, Go once again lauded the fighting spirit of Filipino cancer patients and encouraged them not to lose hope as the government continues to strengthen programs to assist them.

Go's sympathy towards cancer patients goes way back when he was still the Special Assistant to the President. In 2018, it can be recalled that Go significantly helped in the treatment of John Paul Culiao, a boy with leukemia. Go then became close to Culiao and the senator even celebrated Culiao's sixth birthday at Philippine Children's Medical Center in 2019.

"Alam ko po kung gaano kahirap ang inyong paglalakbay kaya naman napakahalaga na kayo ay mabigyan ng suporta dahil naniniwala ako na each and every one of you deserves to live your life to the fullest," the senator remarked.

"Rest assured that I will continue to fully support all programs and continue to work hard to help ease the burden that the cancer patients and their families carry," he vowed.

Signed in 2019, NICCA ensures the provision of quality healthcare services and financial risk protection to cancer patients by adopting an integrated and comprehensive approach to health development, which includes the strengthening of integrative, multidisciplinary, patient- and family-centered cancer control policies, programs, systems, interventions and services at all levels of the existing healthcare delivery system.

The law also establishes the National Integrated Cancer Control Program which seeks to prevent deaths from cancer by providing "affordable and accessible" medical treatment.

Latest data from the Department of Health's Philippine Cancer Facts and Estimates show that the incidence of cancer is up to eight deaths per day for childhood cancer and up to 11 new cases and seven deaths per hour for adult cancer.

"I am always one with you in the fight against this disease. In fact, during the budget deliberations last year, I pushed for an additional budget for the cancer assistance fund to subsidize the cost of cancer treatment, including the needed diagnostics and laboratory tests. With the support of my colleagues in the Senate, we were able to add P529 million for this program in the 2022 budget," Go cited.

The senator also commended the House of Hope, a charity organization, for its dedication to serve and accommodate cancer patients. Established as Davao Children's Cancer Fund Inc. in 2004, the House of Hope responds to the needs of children with cancer in Mindanao.

Every year, President Duterte makes it a tradition to visit cancer patients during Christmas, his birthday, and Valentine's Day. The President also continues his commitment to these children by helping raise funds for the organization.

"Ang kwento ng House of Hope ay kwento po ng malasakit. Malapit kay Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte ang bahay na ito. Makasaysayan ang tahanan na ito kaya naman mahalaga na atin itong suportahan at pahalagahan," Go emphasized.

"Cancer patients have always been a priority of the President. Noong 2011 po ay kanya pong ipinagkaloob ang sarili niyang bahay para sa mga cancer patients para sila po ay may matuluyan habang sila ay nagpapagaling. At ito po 'yung bahay na iyon," he continued.

Go also cited the continuous expansion of Malasakit Centers across the country in an ongoing effort to improve access of more Filipinos to quality healthcare. The centers are one-stop shops designed to help particularly poor and indigent Filipinos reduce their hospital expenses to the lowest amount possible.

Go is the principal author and sponsor of the Malasakit Centers Act. There are currently 149 centers nationwide that have assisted more than three million Filipinos.

"Importante na ating binibigyang halaga ang mga nagawa natin para sa ikabubuti ng mamamayang Pilipino lalo na sa sektor ng kalusugan dahil sa ganitong paraan ay nahihikayat natin ang isa't isa na ipagpatuloy ang suporta sa mga ganitong klaseng inisyatibo para sa ikauunlad ng healthcare system ng bansa," the senator said.

He also acknowledged the hard work of medical frontliners who continue to make valuable contributions and sacrifices to safeguard the well-being of every Filipino patient especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Before I end, I would like to thank our doctors, nurses, caregivers, and frontliners who - despite the challenges that pandemic brings - continue to selflessly provide healthcare especially to those afflicted with cancer," Go expressed.

"Muli, makakaasa kayo na ipagpapatuloy namin ang aming nasimulan at marami pang programa ang ating ilulunsad para sa kalusugan lalung-lalo na laban sa kanser. Maraming salamat sa House of Hope. Maraming salamat kay Pangulong Duterte. Maraming salamat at mabuhay po tayong lahat," he ended.

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