Amid the criticisms being received by Alex Gonzaga on social media because of her birthday cake video, a netizen reminded the public that they should not forget that there was a more important issue that still needed to get attention on social media.
In a tweet, Gep Macadaeg of band Autotelic reminded the netizens about the issue being faced by the Department of Health (DOH) after some of their officials were accused of stealing P786 million in funds that were meant to help cancer patients in the country.
“Huwag sana masapawan nung Alex Gonzaga issue ang balita ngayon na nagnakaw ang DOH officials ng P786 million sa pondo na para dapat sa mga cancer patients ng Pilipinas.” Macadaeg said.
According to the report, an officer of DOH Dr. Clarito Cairo Jr. filed a complaint in the Office of the Ombudsman against DOH Undersecretary Beverly Lorraine Ho, former Director IV Anna Guerrero, Director IV Razel Nikka Hao, Director IV Anthony Cu, and doctors Kim Tejano and Jan Aura Laurelle Llevado for allegedly being involved in the stealing hundreds of millions of funds that should help the cancer patients in the Philippines.
Cairo claimed that the Cancer and Supportive-Palliative Medicines Access Program (CSPMAP) funds were only granted to 19 out of 31 hospitals in the country.
“In September 2021, the Program led by Complainant launched the more inclusive CSPMAP which aims to provide free medicines to patients with breast, childhood, lung, prostate/bladder/kidney, blood, head and neck/thyroid, gynecologic, and gastrointestinal cancers including the supportive and palliative medicines at any of the 31 accredited access sites/hospitals across the country. CSMAP was funded under the 2021 GAA (General Appropriations Act) amounting to P756M,” Dr. Cairo said.
He even revealed that Philippine General Hospital (PGH), Rizal Medical Center & Amang Rodriguez Medical Center was excluded from the list of hospitals that were supposed to be granted the said funds.
The said hospitals were already treating cancer patients since 2011, so it’s questionable why they were removed from the list of CSPMAP grants.
“Thus, many of their CSPMAP-enrolled patients had to discontinue or abandon their treatment due to the unavailability of the life-saving medicine,” Cairo said.
Some relatives of cancer patients in PGH expressed concern over the issue, asking if the lack of funds was the reason why they were required to buy cancer medicine outside the hospital.
“Could this be one of the reasons why all of a sudden, DOH don’t give free chemo meds for cancer patients anymore? I got to experience it before when I used to ask for assistance for free meds for my mom’s chemo. Luckily, we’re almost done so we only shell out quite little amount.” netizen @chirlawrencesc asked.