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The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board’s approval of the establishment of the PHP6-billion, 300-bed capacity University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) Cancer Center is a manifestation of the Marcos administration’s commitment to prioritizing the healthcare needs of Filipinos, a socioeconomic planning official said.

NEDA Undersecretary Rosemarie Edillon said the UP-PGH Cancer Center is the first public-private partnership (PPP) project approved under the Marcos administration.

“Ang ganda rin ng (It’s a good) message that we are really prioritizing health. So, this will be the first of many, I hope,” Edillon said in a media forum Saturday.

The NEDA Board, chaired by President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., approved seven high-impact projects during its third meeting Thursday in Malacañang, including the UP-PGH Cancer Center.

The seven NEDA Board-approved high-impact projects are expected to contribute to achieving the administration’s social and economic transformation goal in the medium-term.

Citing the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) for 2023-2028, Edillon said regional specialty hospitals are among the Marcos administration’s commitments.

“‘Yung mga kababayan natin na nasa mga malalayong probinsya, hindi kailangang pumunta pa all the way sa Manila para dito (Our citizens who live in far provinces don’t need to go all the way to Manila for this). So, of course the first among which would be the UP-PGH Cancer Institute,” she added.

Dr. Jose Rafael Marfori, PGH Special Assistant to the Director, said the Cancer Center would give medical professionals access to new technologies that can aid in cancer detection and treatment.

In his first State of the Nation Address last year, Marcos vowed to build a Center for Disease Control and Prevention, vaccine institute, and specialty hospitals nationwide to bring essential health services closer to the people.

“Napakinabangan natin nang husto ang malalaking specialty hospitals gaya ng Heart Center, Lung Center, Children’s Hospital at National Kidney and Transplant Institute. Maliwanag na hindi lamang dapat dito lamang sa National Capital Region kundi maging sa ibang parte ng bansa kailangan magdagdag ng ganitong uri ng mga pagamutan (We greatly benefit from big specialty hospitals like the Heart Center, Lung Center, Children’s Hospital and National Kidney and Transplant Institute. It is clear that we need hospitals like these not only in the National Capital Region but also in other parts of the country),” Marcos said.

He also vowed to exert all efforts to improve the welfare of doctors, nurses, and other medical front-liners. (PNA)