So proper regulations can be in place to prevent abuse
SENATOR and chair of the Senate Committee on Health Christopher “Bong” Go maintained that he is open to the proposal that would authorize the use of marijuana for medical purposes in the Philippines, so long as there will be a thorough study for proper regulations to be in place.
During a subcommittee on health hearing regarding medical cannabis, Go mentioned that even former president Rodrigo Duterte is open to such a measure despite his staunch opposition to illegal drugs.
“I am for its medical use so I am open to proposals on how we can regulate medical marijuana in such a way that there are enough safeguards. Pag-aralan po natin ng mabuti,” said Go.
“Even former president Rodrigo Duterte has previously expressed openness for the use of medical marijuana subject to proper regulation,” he added.
Go reiterated, however, that he would support such a measure as long as it establishes strict safeguards and regulations to ensure it is used for medical purposes only.
“Bilang Chairperson ng Senate Committee on Health, palagi kong inuuna ang kalusugan ng bawat Pilipino. Kaya kung ano man ang makakatulong sa paggamot ng mga sakit ay susuporta naman po ako dito,” he said.
“I am very much open, but I want to emphasize the importance of proper regulation if we are to allow and support medical marijuana. Hindi lang medikal ang pinag-uusapan dito, kundi pati kung papaano mare-regulate ng maayos at hindi po maaabuso ang paggamit ng cannabis,” he added.
According to Go, the significant gains made from the fierce anti-illegal drug campaign waged by the previous administration led by Duterte should not be wasted and bad elements should not be given the opportunity to exploit the proposed measure if enacted into law.
“Naging masidhi ang kampanya ng dating administrasyon kontra ilegal na droga kaya importante na hindi ito mapabayaan at hindi maabuso ng masamang elemento ang dapat na makakatulong sana sa may sakit,” said Go.
“Importante rin sa atin na mabalanse ang interes ng nakararami. Importante ang kalusugan. Importante rin ang peace and order. At importante po ang rule of law. Lahat ng ito ay mga aspeto na dapat ikonsidera sa pagpasa ng panukalang ito,” he added.
Senator Go also underscored the importance of taking a unified approach and balancing all aspects such as medical value, public order, economic opportunities, among others. He likewise suggested that the Food and Drug Administration should play a crucial role in the determination of the medicinal value of cannabis.
During the hearing, he also gave his full support to Subcommittee on Health Chairperson, Senator Robinhood Padilla, for initiating the hearing which recognizes medical cannabis as a compassionate alternative means of medical treatment.
“Ito po ay adbokasiya talaga ni Senator Padilla kaya alam ko po na makabuluhan at produktibo ang ating diskusyon sa hearing na ito. Hindi po basta-basta ang usapin na ito,” said Go.
“Marami nang naging pag-aaral at debate ukol dito kaya nararapat lang po na mayroon tayong subcommittee sa ilalim ng Committee on Health na nakatutok po talaga dito,” he added.
Go also recognized the work of several associations who are passionate about the issue. “Matagal n’yo na po itong ipinaglalaban dahil nakakatulong talaga ang medical marijuana sa mga pasyente o sa mga mahal nyo po sa buhay,” said Go.
“Saludo po ako sa inyong dedikasyon at adbokasiya na ipaglaban ang wastong paggamit ng marijuana bilang gamot sa bansa. Kaisa ninyo po ako lalo na pagdating sa usapin kung paano tayo makatulong sa mga mahihirap nating kababayan na walang access sa gamot na maaaring makatulong sa kanila,” he added.
Citing the remarkable gains from former president Rodrigo Duterte’s fight against illegal drug, Go refiled SBN 428 which seeks to establish a Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Center in every province throughout the Philippines. The center shall provide care, treatment and accommodation to drug dependents; enhance their physical, psychological and social capability to cope with common problems; and provide after-care, follow-up and social reintegration services, among others.