Singer Marlo Mortel recalled his experience lining up at Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) to get help for his mom, who passed away from cancer, he shared on March 11.
During the media event commemorating the implementation of the National Integrated Cancer Control Act (NICCA), Mortel shared his family’s experience waiting in line for PCSO.
“‘Yung sa akin ang hindi ko talaga inaasahan is the side of the care giver. Kasi kami ‘yung nag-aalaga sa Mommy ko noon. So salitan kami. Pag ako ang nagtra-trabaho. Si Daddy ang nag-aalaga sa bahay and then may PCSO pa noon ha, pumipila talaga to ask for financial assistance. Pag ako nasa bahay, si daddy ang pipila sa PCSO.
“Lahat talaga ginawa namin para ma-extend ‘yung life niya.”
He then shared the other steps he took to help his mom during her fight against cancer
“‘Yung mga hindi ko ginagawa before, ginawa ko talaga. Nag-arrange ako ng mga fundraisers. And then, I’m very grateful na madaming tumulong na mga taga industry. So medyo naka-ipon for another year, hanggang sa mawala na siya.”
Mortel added he fought for his mother despite being an only child and a breadwinner.
“It’s so hard kasi, I was an only child, and I’m the only one working, sa family namin at that time. And I’m very close with my mom kasi growing up my dad worked abroad so kaming dalawang talaga sa bahay.
“I didn’t really know what I felt. Siguro I wasn’t shocked, but I really did fight for the longest time. Happy na sana kami noong 2015, 2016 kasi medyo okay na siya, it was our first time going abroad in 2016 and then when we came back doon na siya lumala.”
He then detailed his mother’s battle against cancer from 2014 to 2018.
“Simula 2014 nag-iistruggle na siya kasi na-diagnose siya with stage three breast cancer. At noong 2017, nag metastasis, so naging stage four and then August 2018, she died.
“Noong lumalaki kasi siya, talagang normal sa kanya na nagkakaroon ng mga benign na cyst. So I don’t know kung hindi masyadong nabigyan ng atensyon ‘yung isa dito. So ‘yung pina-check, medyo malala na siya.
“I think may nararamdaman na siya. Noong una pa nga hindi pa ‘yun diagnosed, Sabi ng doctor baka TB or ganyan, pero it’s really cancer talaga.”
Mortel’s mother, Merlie Galman Pamintuan Mortel, succumbed to stage four breast cancer in August 2018.
Mortel highlighted the benefits of NICCA for people fighting against cancer.
“I just want to tell everyone here na cancer is not a death sentence. This law or itong pinopromote natin ngayon, for me it spreads proper awareness na pagkatama ‘yung treatments, tama ‘yung guidance, ma-proprovide sa atin, we can.
“Kasi kami, it was very new to us, mayroon kaming mga guidance na nakuha. Kasi more of ano din siya eh, malpractice din ‘yung nangyari. Dumating sa point na na-open heart surgery siya na hindi naman pala kailangan kaagad-agad. Dumating sa point na binutas ‘yung lungs niya na hindi naman pala kasi mali ‘yung findings.”
In August 2019, the government signed the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act No. 11215, otherwise known as the National Integrated Cancer Control Act (NICCA).
NICCA emphasizes cancer prevention and improvement of cancer survivorship by strengthening essential programs and increasing investments for the entire cancer care continuum. It also expanded the PhilHealth packages for Filipinos diagnosed with cancer and mandates the establishment of the Philippine Cancer Center to ensure access to cancer care services and medicines.