Wednesday, May 4, 2016
Though breast cancer is also very much a political issue, the Philippine Breast Cancer Network maintains its distance from endorsing or aligning itself with any candidate or party in the forthcoming May 9th elections. Regardless of the results, breast cancer affects all women whatever her political color. To maintain its integrity and advocacy, the PBCN focuses on what needs to be done to prevent breast cancer towards the ultimate eradication of this environmental health epidemic.
Of the following distinctions of the Philippines, what can be said to be lamentable and unacceptable?
1. It is the only predominantly Catholic country in Asia since 500 years ago;
2. It is said to be the oldest democracy in Asia since a century ago;
3. It is the only country in Asia where English is widely spoken since a century ago; and
4. It has the highest incidence rate of breast cancer in Asia and the 10th highest worldwide since the past three decades.
Sadly though, the country’s political system has remained basically feudal and has yet to mature even after having ousted the Marcos dictatorship 30 years ago. Absent of a strong political party system, national public officials have continued to be elected simply based on pure popularity. Being such, legislators have all been ignorant on this public health epidemic and they have all always focused on early detection which is definitely far from prevention. Take for example, Senate Bill No. 1873 authored by Sen. Trillanes, SBN 2114 authored by Sen. Santiago and SBN 354 authored by Sen. Legarda. Worst of all, Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s SBN 2114 during the 16th Congress was lifted almost entirely word for word from the US Senate Bill 931 of the 113th Congress.
Early in the term of President Noynoy Aquino, PhilHealth launched a Z Program providing free medical treatment for breast cancer. The PBCN registered its concerns on how the program would result in much over diagnosis and over treatment, other than not being able to cure breast cancer. Then by the latter part of his term, PhilHealth embarked on the wide distribution of contraceptive implants which will place many mothers at very high risk of getting breast cancer later on. At the end of his term, both of these programs will not be evaluated nor will the public ever hear about them because of their failures.
Now even cancer is being used as a vehicle for political office. This Cancer Party List aims for cancer patients and PWD’s to live a life of freedom through access to quality healthcare, medication, and equal rights through the following:
1. Raising cancer awareness
2. The development and implementation of policies that benefit cancer patients and PWD’s
3. The rehabilitation and care of cancer patients and their loved ones.
Are not their aims and goals also of the Department of Health? The PBCN turned down an invitation to join or support this party list primarily because it is no different from the Philippine Cancer Society.
All Presidential, Senatorial and Congressional candidates are thus challenged by the Philippine Breast Cancer Network to enact laws and directives to protect all women from the scourge of breast cancer, a few of which are the following which will not cost government a centavo:
1. STOP mandatory annual chest x-rays for all government employees and make it optional for companies and schools during pre-employment and pre-enrollment. This alone will drastically reduce breast cancer because all women regardless of health status are being unnecessary exposed regularly to at least 1,000 millirads of radiation.
2. STOP the use of hormonal contraceptives in its population control program because breast cancer is a hormonal disease. Women will not be placed at risk of breast cancer when the use of other methods such as condoms and rhythm method are encouraged instead.
3. STOP operations of air-water-soil contaminating industries regardless of environmental clearances - specially identified mining operations that continue to spill cyanide and mercury in the waterways of our country.
4. STOP the use of triclosan and parabens in all productions of various cosmetics and bath soaps/shampoos among other common consumer products. A Safety Chemical Act needs to be legislated to keep our people healthy and not be at risk of developing cancer from these identified carcinogenic substances.
FREEDOM FROM BREAST CANCER!