“OPEN the door to those patients who need it badly. They deserve to live. Kailangan natin bigyan sila ng pagkakataun na makaramdam ng kaunting kaginhawaan.”
Thus said Sen. Robinhood “Robin” C. Padilla in a short interview by Peoples Tonight during the Senate Christmas party last December 7, 2022
Padilla presided over the Health and Demography Subcommittee hearing Wednesday, on Senate Bill No. 230 or the Medical Cannabis Compassionate Access Act of the Philippines.
The bill, authored by Padilla, seeks to grant access to medical cannabis or marijuana as a compassionate alternative means of medical treatment.
The bill also seeks to expand research into cannabis’ medicinal properties to promote the health and well-being of citizens proven to be in dire need of such.
“Today, we open the door and care for patients who have been knocking on the hearts of those concerned for a long time to realize their requests for access to the longed-for cure – medical cannabis,” Padilla said as he opened the first public hearing on the proposal.
Senate Committee on Health Chairperson Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go said he is open to the medicinal use of marijuana, but there should be enough safeguards for it not to be abused.
Should Congress allow and support medical marijuana, Senator Go underscored the importance of proper regulation.
“As chair of the Committee on Health, I always prioritize the health of every Filipino and I am willing to support proposals that can help cure diseases,” Go said.
Sen. Nancy S. Binay, during the hearing, suggested to the proponents of legalizing medical cannabis to convince more doctors or medical practitioners to prescribe it to several patients who are suffering from epilepsy.
Binay said that based on her conversation with the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) way back in 2019, they said no one attempts to request a permit to import cannabis oil and no medical doctors are willing to issue a prescription.
“Maybe it’s good to have research and further study on this because one of the hurdles that you need to overcome is on how to convince medical professionals to prescribe this medical cannabis,” Binay pointed out.
Binay clarified that the bill is pushing for the finished dosage form of marijuana, not its raw form.
She asked the proponents of medical cannabis to submit a list of possible finished products once this bill becomes law.
Padilla assured that his bill is eyeing an affordable cure for suffering Filipinos and prolonging their lives.
He sees that the journey there may take longer than usual but “every journey” Padilla said, “begins with a small first step.”