April 10, 2016
MANILA, Philippines – The party-list group Cancer Alleviation Network on Care Education and Rehabilitation Inc. or CANCER is now endorsing the candidacy of presidential bet Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.
CANCER is a coalition of cancer patients, medical and health professionals and advocates working to save lives from cancer and other diseases.
It is headed by Dario Lapada Jr. and its other nominees are Rhodora Marmito, Emer Rojas, Ryan Vincent Uy, and Nelia Abrogar.
In a statement released today, Rojas, who is also the president of New Vois Association of the Philippines (NVAP), said the feisty mayor is the only one among the five presidential candidates who has a clear program for health, which is very crucial given the poor access to public health services in the country.
Rojas said he is confident that a Duterte presidency will make public health services accessible and tobacco control more efficient than ever.
“Mayor Duterte is an action man as evidenced by Davao City’s effective tobacco control ordinance which he initiated,” said Rojas.
“Through his strong political will the city has transformed itself into a global leader in the fight against smoking that other governments, whether local or overseas, are replicating his strategy,” he added.
He noted that Duterte is a known health advocate who turned Davao to a global model city for tobacco control.
In 2002, Davao City passed its Comprehensive Anti-Smoking Ordinance, dropping by 60 percent the city’s tobacco consumption in the first year alone.
It also transformed Davao as the first city in Southeast Asia to become 100 percent smoke free.
“Davao City’s anti-smoking ordinance was passed by its local government even before Congress approved Republic Act 9211 or the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003,” said Rojas.
“This only shows Mayor Duterte’s commitment to health, that he is willing to take the lead ahead of everyone,” he added.
Rojas, a laryngeal cancer survivor, said a Duterte presidency would be a win not only for orderliness but also for public health.
For his part, Duterte, who had Buerger’s disease or a constriction of the blood vessels caused by smoking, threw his support for CANCER party-list.
He made the declaration during a recent prayer rally organized by the religious sect Kingdom of Jesus Christ, The Name Above Every Name, Inc. in Lingayen, Pangasinan.
“We are so honored to be endorsed by Mayor Duterte who has been our partner for many years in our health advocacy,” said Rojas.
“We are hoping that his support will translate to votes for CANCER party-list so that we will have our first sectoral group championing public health in Congress,” he added.
Former President Fidel Ramos also recently endorsed the CANCER party-list.
Ramos, a former smoker, lost his daughter Josephine “Jo” Martinez Ramos to lung cancer in 2011.