By Ellson Quismorio
House members in the 17th Congress are batting for the creation of two new specialized hospitals specialization, namely the National Cancer Center of the Philippines (NCCP) and the Philippine Center for Diabetes and Endocrinology (PCDE).
Behind these proposals — which seek to help thousands of Filipinos — are Davao del Norte 1st district Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez, Davao Oriental 2nd district Rep. Joel Almario, and Camarines Sur 2nd district Rep. LRay Villafuerte.
Alvarez and Almario jointly authored and filed House Bill (HB)No.7910 establishing the NCCP, while Villafuerte filed HB No.7861 creating the PCDE.
In justifying HB No.7910, Almario noted that the Philippines has seen an alarming increase in cancer cases.
According to a study conducted by the University of the Philippines’ (UP) Institute of Human Genetics, 189 of every 100,000 Filipinos are afflicted with cancer while four die of cancer every hour.
“It is very important that this bill is enacted into law because as it is now, Filipino patients who can afford go to other countries like Singapore, Hongkong and Thailand for diagnosis or treatment, while those who do not have the means simply suffer and die,” Almario stated.
“This is a preventable reality as we have a big pool of very talented oncology doctors, specialists and nurses who can treat Filipinos, but not enough facilities for such. If we pass this bill, then we can help our kababayans afflicted with the disease within our backyard, no need to leave the country,” explained the Mindanao solon.
The proposed NCCP is a specialty hospital focused on oncology and its three major areas: medical, surgical and radiation. Envisioned to be the headquarters of a nationwide cancer hospital network, the proposed hospital will likewise be a training ground for cancer specialists who will eventually be assigned to the various regions nationwide.
The PCDE, on the other hand, will be geared toward becoming the primary institution for the treatment of an estimated five million Filipino diabetics.
“While diabetes is generally preventable and treatable, it has grown into a silent and fatal disease that has cost our people and this government so much in healthcare expenses,” Villafuerte said.
In the Western Pacific, the Philippines ranks fifth behind China, Indonesia, Japan, and Thailand as far as the number of diabetics are concerned. This makes the Philippines a diabetes hotspot.
“This bills targets the prevention of certain types of diabetes, and its early detection to reduce the number of affected individuals and to provide treatment as soon as possible. It also seeks to provide support to diabetics and their loved ones in coping with this disease,” added the Bicol lawmaker.
HB No.7861 states that the PCDE will be under the Department of Health (DOH). It shall serve as the lead tertiary-level center in the screening, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diabetes in the country.
The PCDE shall also ensure that there is an organized, comprehensive, and optimal system of care and treatment for patients with diabetes and other endocrine problems among local hospitals and other medical institutions.