Health commission to save Pinoys from lifestyle diseases

Senatorial candidate Harry Roque (File photo)

MANILA – As heart ailment, stroke, and cancer kill many Filipinos, UniTeam senatorial aspirant Harry Roque wants to create a multisectoral health promotion body to prevent more deaths from lifestyle diseases.

Roque expressed alarm that non-communicable ailments like ischemic heart diseases, cerebrovascular diseases (stroke), and neoplasms (cancer) were the country’s leading causes of death in 2020 and 2021.

“Preventing lifestyle diseases require a ‘health promotion’ rather than a ‘curative’ approach,” Roque said in a news release on Wednesday. “This will encourage Filipinos to reduce their degenerative illnesses and disability risk factors.”

The former party-list representative was the principal author of the Universal Health Care for All Filipinos, National HIV and AIDS Policy, and free lunch for school children nationwide.

If he earns a Senate seat, Roque will propose the creation of the Health Promotion Commission, with the President as honorary chair, to mainstream health in all aspects of economic development.

The health and human right activist filed a similar measure through House Bill 918 that establishes a commission to oversee the implementation of health promotion in the Philippines.

The proposed law coordinates the active participation of national and local governments, civil society organizations, local communities, academe, and the private sector.

“We seek to address longer-term health concerns such as diabetes, hypertension, cancer, heart disease, and stroke,” Roque added. “This would benefit the poor, disabled, elderly, youth, women, and marginalized groups.”

The multisectoral body will be composed of three commissioners. Representatives from 23 government agencies and 13 independent experts from various fields and sectors will comprise the advisory board.

The measure also aims to create a Health Promotion Fund to be sourced from 20 percent of the remaining incremental revenues allocated for health under Republic Act 10351 or the Sin Tax Reform Law.

As part of his Senate legislative agenda, Roque would also push for better implementation of the health care law by establishing the National Health System to replace the corruption-plagued Philippine Health Insurance Corporation.

He would also sponsor laws on ‘zero hunger’ hunger in six years, the right to potable water, ‘three-day’ court hearing rule, and job creation for pandemic-affected workers.

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported that ischemic heart diseases killed 110,332 individuals in the first nine months of 2021. It accounted for 18.3 percent of the country’s total deaths.

Further, it marked a 28 percent increase from the recorded 86,164 deaths related to heart diseases in 2020.

According to PSA, stroke caused the death of 58,180 Filipinos, while cancer claimed 48,937 lives in 2021. (PR)

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