Speaker Martin Romualdez assured cancer patients, their families, and cancer specialists that the House will find ways to fund projects meant to alleviate their plight and improve the delivery of healthcare and allied services.
Romualdez made the commitment as he led a contingent of the House of Representatives in a town hall meeting dubbed “Congress at Your Service-We listen, We Deliver” at the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC) to listen to the concerns of all cancer stakeholders in the performance of the chamber’s oversight function.
“Gusto nating maging bahagi ang town hall meeting na ito para imulat ang kamalayan ng mga Pilipino sa ating lipunan lalo na sa mga isyung pangkalusugan at kung paano natin ito dapat tugunan.”
“Sa pamamagitan nito, nalalaman natin ang kanilang mga pangangailangan, mga suliranin, at mga hamon sa buhay. Gusto nating maging bahagi ang town hall meeting na ito para imulat ang kamalayan ng mga Pilipino sa ating lipunan lalo na sa mga isyung pangkalusugan at kung paano natin ito dapat tugunan,” the veteran legislator said.
Accompanying the Speaker during the meeting were Quezon City 3rd District Representative Franz Pumaren, TGP Party List Representative Bong Teves, Jr., Tingog Party List Representative Jude Acidre, Iloilo 1st District Representative Janet Garin and Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte.
House Appropriations Committee Chair and Ako Bicol Party List Representative Zaldy Co was represented by former Department of Health Undersecretary Roger Tong-an.
Among the issues raised during the town hall meeting were adequate financial assistance for cancer, temporary shelter or halfway house for patients and their families coming from far provinces, facilities for doctors, support for research and development, parking area, and a specialized hospital for cancer.
“All of these, we are going to address. We will make sure, together with the Committee on Appropriations and the whole Congress, that public funds will go to where it is truly needed,” Romualdez said.
“We commit to make sure that the voices of all stakeholders are considered. Foremost among our priorities is to let the people feel that our government is a shoulder to rely on. Ang gobyerno ang inyong Kuya sa panahon ng pangangailangan,” the seasoned lawmaker added.
He said the House understands the need for a cancer research program in the country to make available to local patients the latest innovations in the world on the treatment of cancer.
For this purpose, Romualdez said a Philippine Cancer Center (PCC) will soon rise in Quezon City.
“Ang Philippine Cancer Center ay isa sa magiging legacy project ng administrasyong Marcos.”
“Ang Philippine Cancer Center ay isa sa magiging legacy project ng administrasyong Marcos. Magsisilbi itong pagamutan ng mga may cancer, research facility at training ground na rin para sa ating mga Cancer Specialists na tututok sa mga lugar outside Metro Manila,” he said.
Romualdez thanked Belmonte who announced that the city council is amenable to remove the standing height restriction under the city’s ordinance for buildings, particularly for the envisioned new PCC and PCMC.
He said the House will also look for funding to continue the “Lungsod ng Kabataan” project initiated by former First Lady Imelda Marcos, meant to make the child’s hospital stay a soothing and comfortable experience.
Envisioned to be built on two floors of the proposed 20-floor PCMC, the Lungsod ng Kabataan will serve also as a temporary shelter or halfway house for young cancer patients and parents who came from outside Metro Manila.
“What we are doing is all about inclusive governance. Sa Bagong Pilipinas, needs will prevail and every centavo spent will redound to the benefit of our people. Cancer patients will be a priority,” Romualdez added.
Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the world with 10 million fatalities recorded since 2020. The most common forms of cancer are lung cancer, breast cancer, colon and rectal cancer and prostate cancer.
Romualdez also said the House will consider the proposal of medical practitioners for the construction of a separate Medical Arts Building, with adequate parking spaces, within the PCMC compound. to accommodate more patients and ensure the availability of doctors.
In addition, he said the House will ensure funding for assistance programs for poor cancer patients such as Philhealth’s Package Z and the Medical Assistance for Indigent Patients (MAIP) of the Department of Health (DOH).
“Let me assure you that the 19th Congress will always be a listening and working arm of our government. As your representatives, your voices will be our voices. We will always listen and try to deliver the best we could,” Romualdez concluded.