Philippines: Newly appointed Health Secretary Duque OK's Medical Cannabis
Philippines: New hope spark for Cannabis advocates and hopeful as the newly appointed Health Secretary expressed his support for the Compassionate use of Medical Cannabis. Francisco Duque III replaced Paulyn Ubial, whose ad interim appointment was rejected by the Commission on Appointments (COA) on October 10. Paulyn Ubial also supports the bill allowing compassionate use of Medical Cannabis.
He said that strict safeguards and a narrow applicability must be in placed and that Medical cannabis must be strictly regulated to ensure that it will not be prone to abuse. Duque said that with the given medicinal benefit of Medical Cannabis the use of it is acceptable.
He said, "The cannabis oil, which is its most important ingredient, has shown in researches to be effective against seizures, epileptic seizures, cerebral palsy seizures, among others,”. The Secretary also assured the public that the Department of Health (DOH) is working closely with legislators on the technical aspects of House Bill No. 6517 or the proposed Philippine Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act to ensure that the final version of the law will be clear and acceptable.
“If it gets approved, the FDA must really do its mandate well in terms of adhering to the standards of quality, safety, and efficacy coupled with compliance with all its rules and regulations,” he added. The Secretary also mentioned that they are taking steps to ensure that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would be fully capable of implementing the guidelines if the bill will be enacted into a law.
On the other hand, Senate Leader Vicente Sotto warned Secretary Duque that he would object to Duque's confirmation before COA if he insisted on supporting the legislation allowing the use of Medical Cannabis. Sotto told the reporters "“There is no need for (another) bill,” referring to Republic Act 9165 that already allows the use of marijuana for medical purposes.
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Senator Gregorio Honasan, agreed with Senator Sotto saying that “technically the compassionate use is already in the law.”
Senator Sherwin Gatchalian also expressed his objection citing the weak enforcement of legislation against abuse and illegal drug trade. Senator Gatchalian said that monitoring will be very difficult because it will now be available to everyone who will use marijuana and users will take advantage of this liberal policy to make money and sell marijuana in the open market.
However, advocates and patients have Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito's support. He said, “As long as parameters are in place to prevent its abuse, I am open to the idea,". He also emphasizes that there is proof that Medical Cannabis can really relieve pain for cancer patients and is effective in the treatment of epilepsy and other cerebral conditions. Citing the studies in the United States pertaining to the use of marijuana wherein some states have allowed the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes but he insisted that for the Philippines he is only in favor of medicinal use and not for recreational purposes.
Health Secretary Duque will face the COA for his confirmation and he expressed that he is happy to be back in service and he will do what needs to be done and he will value the sentiments of the CA members.
Yes to Medical Cannabis!
Very informative. Legalize Medical Cannabis EVERYWHERE!
awareness is the key
Excellent work, awareness is the key to a more acceptable audience.