MANILA - A group advocating for the elimination of barriers to cancer care calls on the House of Representatives to pass Senate Bill 1850, or the National Integrated Cancer Control Act.
This, after the Senate approved the bill, unanimously voting 18-0.
Senate Bill 1850, principally authored by authored by Sen. JV Ejercito, Sen. Sonny Angara, Sen. Nancy Binay, and Sen. Loren Legarda, aims to institutionalize a national integrated cancer control program in the country.
"It is high time that we give hope to cancer patients… as sponsor and one of the authors of the measure, I consider the bill as an imperative effort to address the gap in the government’s cancer program," Ejercito said.
Cancer Coalition Philippines hopes for the immediate passage and subsequent approval of the law.
In a statement, the group lauded the Senate's approval of the law.
“The swift approval reflects the value legislators place on persons with cancer of any stage, age, gender and income bracket. We laud the commitment of the Senate to a basic human right – the right to life," the statement said.
House Health Committee Chairperson Rep. Helen Tan expressed confidence her colleagues will support the bill.
"I think every member of the house would like to see help come in the way to any cancer patient. We hope to secure a swift passage soon," she said.
The House of Representatives is set to deliberate the bill next week.
There are nearly 150,000 new cases of cancer every year. In the Philippines, most government and private cancer assistance programs cater to a few cancers, and only to those at an early stage.
The top five cancers in the country are breast, lung, colon, liver, prostate, and cervical.