Vice presidential aspirant Dr. Willie Ong bares key healthcare platforms

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 24) — Vice presidential aspirant Dr. Willie Ong bared on Wednesday several key healthcare platforms he would pursue if elected to the country’s second highest office, among them establishing the country’s cancer center.

Speaking before an audience of San Jose del Monte residents alongside Aksyon Demokratiko standard bearer Isko Moreno, Ong stressed the importance of having a cancer center to address an illness he referred to as among the leading causes of death among Filipinos.

Ngayon 'yung mga may sakit sa cancer, palipat-lipat lang kung saan pumupunta. Kailangan talaga kumpleto tayo sa gamit,” said Ong, highlighting the need for such a specialty hospital.

[Translation: People who have cancer nowadays keep transferring from one place to another. Our (medical) equipment really should be complete.)

Ong says the center could cost from about ₱2.5 to ₱3 billion, adding that it would include a 200-bed hospice for recovering cancer patients.

The concept of specialty hospitals is nothing new in the country, with the establishment of the Philippine Lung Center, the Philippine Heart Center and the National Kidney and Transplant Institute during the term of the late dictator and former president Ferdinand Marcos.

Ong said he will push for free treatment for indigent patients in his proposed cancer center.

Titingnan natin. Sa mahihirap, free, sa mayayaman, magbabayad ng kaunti para at least mapondohan," he stated.

[Translation: We'll see. Free for the poor, for the rich, they should pay a little amount so it could at least be funded.]

The popular doctor said he would also push for the upgrading of the country’s sixteen regional hospitals if elected vice president.

“Upgrade natin na meron ding para sa puso, para sa baga, para sa kidney, para hindi na pupunta dito (sa Metro Manila) 'yung mga pasyente,” Ong stated.

[Translation: Let's upgrade them so that they can also tend to conditions involving the heart, lungs, and kidneys, so that patients (with these special concerns) need not go to Metro Manila.]

Ong said he would also work for improvements in the National Center for Mental Health, saying funding should be increased in the institution to ensure more psychiatrists, psychologists and medicines for patients.