Albay mayors thank DOH for Bicol Cancer Center in BRHMC 

DARAGA, Albay — Albay mayors, led by Polangui Mayor Adrian Raymond Salceda have conveyed their sincere thanks and appreciation to the Department of Health (DOH) for the opening of the Bicol Cancer Center in the Bicol Regional Hospital and Medical Center (BRHMC) in this town. 

The cancer center, a major facility of the BRHMC, was formally opened on Friday, March 8 following the issuance of its license to operate by the Food and Drug Administration. 

In a statement, Mayor Salceda, president of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) Albay Chapter, thanked Health Secretary Teodoro Herbosa for “bringing lifesaving care closer to Bicolanos, particularly to Albayano families” through the cancer center. 

“Cancer can be devastating for patients and their families. It gets much harder when they have to travel to Manila just to get lifesaving care. With the operation of the Bicol Cancer Center, cancer patients can now focus on recovering closer to home, where their support systems are,” Salceda noted.

The mayor said then Albay governor and now 2nd District Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda, his uncle, had been lobbying for the creation of the cancer center since 2010, first under a public-private partnership scheme. 

He recalled that Secretary Herbosa was still a senior official of the DOH then who helped handle the concerns of DOH hospitals in Bicol when the cancer center was conceptualized. 

“The Bicol Cancer Center is part of a much grander dream — to transform the Bicol Regional Hospital and Medical Center into the PGH of the South – a dream which my uncle, Congressman Joey Salceda, and Secretary Herbosa have been working on for years now,” Mayor Salceda said. 

“The vision was a BRHMC – then called BRTTH – that would be a complete medical ecosystem providing the best quality healthcare in South Luzon,” he explained. 

“The establishment of the Bicol University College of Medicine now ensures a consistent stream of doctor graduates who will get trained and serve the BRHMC. The Bicol Heart, Lung, and Kidney Centers, meanwhile, provide top quality sub-specialty care that was previously only available outside Bicol,” he pointed out. 

The Bicol Cancer Center is part of the expansion programs after the enactment of RA 11719, which was also principally crafted by Congressman Salceda. The measure converted the BRTTH into the BRHMC, and increased its bed capacity from 250 to 800.

The cancer center was officially licensed to operate after the acquisition of a linear accelerator (LinAc) and other radiological equipment needed for cancer diagnosis and treatments.

Mayor Salceda also thanked House Appropriations Committee chairman Elizaldy Co for funding further expansions of the BRHMC, and “… for heavily investing in BRHMC’s infrastructure from water supply to halfway houses and other facilities.”

“Congressman Co, of Ako Bicol Partylist, also deserves credit for massively funding BRHMC’s Medical Assistance Program,” Mayor Salceda stressed.

“Most recently, Congressman Co helped secure funding for the Legacy Specialty Hospital in the BRHMC, which is a priority project of President Marcos. All these complementary developments helped ensure that BRHMC will be the most well-equipped hospital in the whole of South Luzon,” he added. 

“Having the Appropriations and Ways and Means Committees in Congress being chaired both by Albayanos has been a great blessing for Albay and for BRHMC. I am sure more programs and projects for BRHMC will be delivered by both of our champions in Congress. With Secretary Herbosa, a long-time friend of the Bicol region, at the helm of DOH, we can dream even bigger for BRHMC,” Salceda said.

LMP-Albay is composed of the 15 town mayors who also work closely with their city mayor counterparts from Legazpi City, Tabaco City and Ligao City.