A congressional leader on Thursday sought an increase of P800 million in the cancer care and treatment budget of the Department of Health for 2022.
Assistant Majority Leader and Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas said his recommendation would raise the proposed budget for the Cancer, Supportive Care and Palliative Care Medicines Access Program (CSPMAP) of the DOH from P786 million to P1.586 billion.
Vargas is the principal author of the National Integrated Cancer Control Act (NICCA) or Republic Act No. 11215, and Chair of the House Committee on Social Services.
In pressing for a budget increase, Vargas said cancer remains a leading cause of death and disability in the Philippines, with 157,000 new cases reported yearly.
He said the P756 million proposed budget for 2022 would only benefit some 26,000 cancer patients “partially or fully assisted for their expenses in medicines.”
“With an additional P800 million budget for the 2022 CSPMAP, we can increase our target beneficiaries to about 60,000 patients or at least one-third of the cancer patients in the country,” he said.
Vargas said several cancer care advocates and families of cancer victims have sought his help in increasing the 2022 budget for cancer care.
“While they appreciate that cancer care and treatment has been given a budget this year, their concern is that it would not be enough considering the current economic situation caused by the pandemic,” he said.
“As things stand, they are already experiencing difficulties making ends meet, and the assistance provided by government through this program is all they can depend on,” he added.