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Congress asked to ensure funding for two health care laws

/ 09:00 AM July 30, 2020

Health care advocates asked Congress to ensure the adequate funding for the implementation of the Universal Health Care Act and National Integrated Cancer Control Act during a virtual town hall discussion on July 24, 2020.

“We cannot wait until this pandemic is completely over in order to revive the economy. With public health and the economy in the balance, the way forward is for the government to utilize the next year’s budget to reform the country’s health care system, strengthen social protection, and provide the much-needed enabling regulatory environment coupled by transparency and accountability measures,” Prof. Dindo Manhit, president of Stratbase ADR Institute (ADRi), said in the online forum.

The forum was organized ADRi, CitizenWatch Philippines, and Cancer Coalition of the Philippines.

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Former Senator Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito and the prime proponent of the UHC and NICCA while he was chairman of the Senate committee on health, expressed strong support for the fast implementation of the two laws.

“I will not allow any delay in the implementation of this law (UHC), since this will be a disservice to the Filipino people. This is a landmark law which should start to benefit ALL Filipinos,” he said.

“I will also appeal to our former colleagues to support the needed budget of the NICC Act. More than a year since this law was passed, it is now high time to push for its gradual implementation,” said Ejercito.

Rep. Paul Ruiz Daza, vice chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, said several laws that were passed in previous years remain to be funded.  He said funding for these laws should be prioritized.

Rep. Alfred Vargas of the 5th District of Quezon City, expressed support for the funding of the two health care laws.  “I am here to reiterate my undying support to the public health sector, as one of the principal sponsors of NICCA. We have approached DBM (Department of Budget and Management) and Speaker Cayetano regarding the funds needed for our costs,” he said.

Paul Perez, president of the Cancer Coalition of the Philippines, a nationwide alliance of cancer stakeholders, asked the DBM and health care advocates in Congress to ensure that adequate funds are allocated for cancer treatment as required under Section 32 of the NICC law which states that the amount should be included in the General Appropriations Act.

“Having this budget line item will secure that cancer funds will be available, as not allocating one may bring about bigger health issues, which will put more pressure on the already overstretched health system,” said Perez.

ADVT.

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