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Travel fatigue: President Marcos skips AsPac forum dinner reception


Helen Flores – The Philippine Star

November 25, 2023 | 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — After skipping a welcome dinner at Malacañang on Thursday for delegates of the 31st Annual Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum, President Marcos assured Filipinos yesterday that he is in the pink of health.

“I basically just ran out of steam yesterday (Thursday). I haven’t recovered from my trip. I suppose I just needed rest. I’m fine now. Thank you for your concern,” Marcos told reporters partly in Filipino, when asked about his absence at the Palace dinner.

Marcos arrived in Manila on Nov. 20 after a six-day working visit in the United States.

The President participated at the 30th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in San Francisco, California, followed by working visits to Los Angeles and Honolulu, Hawaii.

This was Marcos’ third time in the US and his 18th foreign trip since assuming the presidency in June last year.

Speaker Martin Romualdez read the President’s speech during the welcome dinner for the visiting parliamentarians from 18 countries in the Asia Pacific region.

Romualdez, who joined Marcos in the US, said the President had been feeling feverish since he returned to Manila.

Marcos, however, was able to visit Eastern Visayas and General Santos City on Thursday to assess the damage from floods in the Visayas region and the 6.8 magnitude earthquake that hit Soccsksargen region on Nov. 17.

Meanwhile, President Marcos inaugurated yesterday the Healthway Cancer Care Hospital (HCCH) in Taguig City, touted to be the Philippines’ first dedicated specialty oncology institution, which is expected to improve Filipinos’ access to quality cancer care.

The HCCH was one of the deals signed on the sidelines of Marcos’ participation in the recently concluded 30th APEC Summit and is the Philippines’ first dedicated specialty oncology hospital.

It “will serve as a network of oncology clinics throughout Metro Manila aimed at providing cancer patients access to comprehensive cancer care utilizing Varian’s state-of-the-art and multi-modality cancer care technologies,” the Presidential Communications Office said.

The HCCH is a partnership between AC Health, a subsidiary of Ayala Corp., and Varian Medical Systems, an American radiation oncology treatments and software maker.

“With the help of the HCCH, we can revolutionize the cancer care services industry in the Philippines through modern and state-of-the-art equipment, coupled with leading medical professionals and oncologists,” Marcos said in his speech.

Noting that cancer is one of the most dreaded illnesses in the Philippines, the President urged Filipinos to get regular checkups by visiting their community health centers or through PhilHealth Konsulta, which provides free diagnostics examinations and laboratory tests.

Marcos said there are 25 specialty centers in cancer care in select Department of Health-run hospitals in the country.

“I encourage the public to maximize these programs, services and facilities for cancer care, prevention and treatment, as the government strives to bring health care closer to the people,” the President said.

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