June 17, 2024

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Cancer Center can prevent thousands of Filipinos from dying of the disease

Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez leads the groundbreaking for the construction of the 20-story Philippine Cancer Center along Quezon Avenue in Diliman, Quezon City Friday (March 8, 2024). Romualdez said the center is not just an ordinary hospital as its goal is to redefine cancer treatment in the Philippines by integrating the latest medical advancements and fostering collaboration among specialists to provide a world-class environment for the treatment of Filipino cancer patients.

SPEAKER Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez on Friday said the construction of the Philippine Cancer Center could prevent the death of thousands of Filipinos due to the disease.

Leading the groundbreaking for the Cancer Center, the leader of the 300-plus-strong House of Representatives said President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. wants to provide Filipinos with comprehensive, affordable and accessible healthcare.

“Ito po ang misyon ng Pangulong Ferdinand Marcos Jr. Ito ang misyon na pinagtutulungan nating bigyan ng buhay ngayong araw,” he told the crowd.

Lawmakers and government officials led by House Committee on Appropriations Chairman Zaldy Co of Ako Bicol party-list, and Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary Manuel Bonoan, local executives, and other lawmakers.

The House of Representatives, through Co’s panel, allocated the budget for the Cancer Center’s fixed assets and critical services as part of the mandate of Republic Act (RA) No. 11215 and the Resource Stratified Framework set by the National Integrated Cancer Control Council.

Speaker Romualdez said cancer remains as the second leading cause of death among Filipinos.

“Each year, thousands are diagnosed, and even more are left to battle without adequate support. This center is our response – to not only decrease mortality and morbidity but to also lessen the incidence of preventable cancers,” he said.

“Our aim is to transform cancer from a death sentence into a manageable condition that, when detected and treated early, can be overcome. We want to ensure strategic alignment with national cancer control plans, make treatment more equitable, affordable, and accessible, and improve the overall experience of cancer care for patients and their families,” he said.

From friends and constituents, he said he knows the suffering cancer patients and their families go through.

“Alam ko po ang problema ng mga pasyenteng may kanser. Alam ko rin ang sakit ng loob na pinagdadaan ng kanilang pamilya. Marami akong kaibigan, kasama sa trabaho at mga constituents na nasa ganitong sitwasyon,” he added.

The Speaker pointed out that he is also aware of the high cost of hospitalization and treatment.

“Hirap humanap ng ospital na abot-kaya. Kung ma-ospital man, walang matulugan ang mga kaanak na nagbabantay. Hindi alam kung saan kukuha ng pambayad para sa pagpapagamot,” he said.

He said the Cancer Center “will be a sanctuary for healing and hope.”

“Together, let’s build a future where cancer is no longer a feared enemy, but a challenge that, with compassion, dedication, and innovation, we can overcome,” he said.

“Naririto tayo ngayon hindi lamang para simulan ang pagtatayo ng isang building o infrastructure project. Nagsasama-sama tayo tuparin at pagtibayin ang pangarap ng ating mga kababayan na biktima ng sakit na kanser,” he said.

“Kaya nating labanan ang sakit na kanser. Sama-sama nating pagtulungan ang misyon na ito. Para sa ating mga anak, mahal sa buhay at sa susunod na henerasyon,” he stressed.

Speaker Romualdez said the specialty cancer hospital would be “a testament to our collective resolve against cancer.”

“This center is designed to be more than just a hospital. It is envisioned as a comprehensive sanctuary for diagnosis, treatment, research, and patient support – all under one roof. Our goal is to redefine cancer treatment in the Philippines, integrating the latest medical advancements and fostering collaboration among specialists to provide a world-class environment for our patients,” he said.

“Hindi lamang natin bibigyan ng ospital ang mga may sakit ng kanser. Bibigyan din natin sila ng mga world-class na doctors at nurses na sasanayin natin at bibigyan ng kailangang suporta,” he said.

He revealed that the center would also include housing facilities for relatives of cancer patients who are caring for them, and for doctors in the provinces who undergo training in the cancel hospital.

“Magtatayo rin tayo ng mga dormitoryo para may tulugan ang mga kamag-anak na nag-aalaga sa mga maysakit. Tutulungan natin silang makabangon, kasama ang kanilang mga mahal sa buhay, sa harap ng hamon na dala ng sakit na ito,” he said.

“Hindi lamang po gamot at alaga ang hatid ng ospital na ito para sa mga pasyente. Magiging training center din po ito at dormitoryo ng mga doktor natin galing sa malalayong probinsya. Layon natin na maging eksperto rin ang ating mga doktor para makapang-gamot ng kanser pagbalik nila sa kanilang mga komunidad,” he said.

He added that the building of a specialized cancer facility “marks a milestone not just in the history of healthcare in our nation but in the lives of countless Filipinos whose battles against cancer have been long and arduous.”

To be built on a 5,000-square-meter lot inside the Blood Bank Complex in Quezon City, the Philippine Cancer Center is envisioned to be a modern teaching and research hospital, with each floor focusing on different types of cancers: hepatic, renal, gastrointestinal, lung, breast, women reproductive organs, skin, and even rare cancers. It will be comprehensive – from diagnosis, treatment, research, and patient support.

The Cancer Center will be a 20-story, cutting-edge facility. It will complete the medical complex built during the first Marcos administration, where specialty hospitals are close to each other: the National Kidney and Transplant Institute, the Philippine Heart Center, the Lung Center, and the Philippine Children’s Medical Center.

The hospitals are all located along East Avenue and Quezon Avenue near Quezon City Memorial Circle and City Hall. Another government hospital, East Avenue Medical Center, is also in that area.

Other officials and lawmakers who attended the ground breaking ceremony include Deputy Majority Leader and Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin, a former health secretary; Quezon City Reps. Marvin Rillo, Ralph Tulfo, and Franz Pumaren, Vice Mayor Gian Carlo Sotto, Health Assistant Secretary Ariel Valencia, Philhealth Corp. president Emmanuel Ledesma Jr., Philippine Cancer Center interim Executive Director Alfonso Nuñez lll, and Menchie Auste-Sarmiento of Cancer Warriors Foundation, Inc.