Press Release/09 August 2019

Cancer patients can now expect better access to more responsive and affordable healthcare services with the signing of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act No. 11215 otherwise known as the National Integrated Cancer Control Act (NICCA). The NICCA was signed into law last February 14 to ensure the provision of quality health services and financial risk protection to cancer patients.

According to the 2018 Global Data on Cancer, more than 140,000 new cancer cases and more than 80,000 cancer deaths are expected in the Philippines every year. 4,000 of the projected new cases will fall on the pediatric age group. Breast cancer is the most common cancer among Filipinos, followed by lung, colon, liver, and prostate.  Lung cancer tops the leading cause of death among all cancers followed by liver, breast, colon, and leukemia.

The NICCA emphasizes cancer prevention and improvement of cancer survivorship by strengthening essential programs and increasing investments for the entire cancer care continuum. It aims to make cancer services and care more accessible to all Filipinos.

The new law also aims to expand PhilHealth packages for Filipinos diagnosed with cancer and mandates the establishment of the Philippine Cancer Center to ensure access to cancer care services and medicines. The Philippine Cancer Center shall also develop a National Integrated Cancer Control Council to steward policy formulation and programming. Cancer Assistance Fund shall also be created to complement the implementation of the Universal Health Care Act.

Moreover, the National Integrated Cancer Control Act will contribute to the attainment of United Nations Sustainable Development Goal No. 3.4, which is to reduce premature mortality from non-communicable diseases by 30% by 2030. With this act we will be closer to the realization of  our country’s vision embodied in  AmBisyon Natin -- Filipinos living long, healthy, and productive lives by 2040.

By institutionalizing interdisciplinary care with a whole-of-government, equity-based, and life-course approach, access to quality and affordable care for cancer patients and survivors will be attained.

"Ultimately, the Filipinos will be among the healthiest people in Southeast Asia by 2022 and in Asia by 2040," Secretary Francisco T. Duque III concluded.