Rep. Rene L. Relampagos expressed concern on the continuing malpractice on transplantation in the country.
Amidst this concern, he filed anew the proposed â€œAnti-Commercial Dealings in Human Organs, Tissues and Other Parts Actâ€ which seeks to institutionalize measures and safeguards to better protect the vulnerable, poor and marginalized from exploitation as well as eliminate the practice of illegal transplantation in the country.
Relampagos noted that the transplantation of human organs, tissues or parts is one of the highly acclaimed medical advancement in human history. In fact, the demand for donors has grown at a steadily increasing pace in the market which gave rise to the business of human organ trading.
He, however, stressed that the commodification of human organs, tissues or parts has led to the exploitation of persons living in poverty and the uneducated, especially from the developing countries, who would readily sell for easy and big money. â€œThis is not only socially problematic but also morally repugnant, a direct affront to human dignity, the right to health and social justiceâ€”which are all enshrined in the 1987 Constitutionâ€.
Barely two years when the Philippines opened itself to medical tourism in 2005, hundreds of patients from foreign countries had visited the country for organ (mostly kidney) transplantation. According to the Department of Health (DOH), several health facilities have violated DOH Administrative Order which mandates a ten percent (10%) allocation of organ transplantation to foreign patients/recipients.
Protests from concerned medical professionals and the Department of Social Welfare and Development have prompted the issuance of a presidential directive, in 2008, totally banning organ transplantation to foreign recipients who use Filipino donors not related to them. However, despite said directive, the current system to supervise and regulate organ transplantation in the country remains inadequate as the practice of illegal transplantation still persists.
Under the proposed bill, a Philippine Organ Donation and Transplantation Program, which will see to the overall direction and system implementation of organ donation and transplantation, has been adopted. To ensure this, several mechanisms are established such as the Philippine Organ Donation and Transplantation Board chaired by the Department of Health Secretary, Philippine Network for Organ Sharing (PhilNOS) under the Board and the National Transplant Ethics Committee under the DOH.
Punishable acts include discriminatory acts against the donor. More importantly, the bill prohibits advertisement in any form, recruitment and offering organ for a fee. Violators may be individuals, corporations, physicians, corporations and foreigners. Penalties shall include, among others, imprisonment of not less than 20 years, a fine of not less than Php 1,000,000.00 and not more than Php 2,000,000.00, revocation of license, and deportation.
Said measure was approved on third reading at the House of Representatives last Congress pending Senate approval.