House Panel Eyes Bills’ Consolidation | The Manila Bulletin Newspaper Online

House Panel Eyes Bills’ Consolidation | The Manila Bulletin Newspaper Online.

By CHARISSA M. LUCI
February 27, 2012, 4:50pm

MANILA, Philippines — The technical working group (TWG) of the House Committee on Health is eyeing to consolidate next month the eight measures seeking to regulate organ donation and transplantation in the country.

Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin, committee vice chairman, who heads the TWG, said their self-imposed deadline in consolidating the several measures is set on March as they are bent to endorse the consolidated bill for plenary discussions and pass the bill before the end of the 15th Congress.

“We are awaiting the schedule. We intend to finish it by March, if possible,” she said. “I hope the bill will be passed within the 15th Congress.”

The House panel, headed by Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo Marañon III decided to create the TWG to consolidate the eight measures. These include Cagayan de Oro Representative Rufus Rodriguez’s House Bills 1720 and 5390; Bohol Rep. Rene Relampagos, HB 4849; Camarines Sur Rep. Diosdado “Dato” Arroyo, HB 1227; Senior Citizens party-list Rep. Godofredo V. Arquiza, HB 2932; YACAP party-list Rep. Carol Jayne Lopez, HB 4797; Masbate Rep. Scott Davies S. Lanete, HB 4963 and Pampanga Rep. Anna York P. Bondoc.

Most of the measures seek to add “more teeth” to Administrative Orders 2008-0004 and 2008-0004A issued by the Department of Health (DoH) that laid down the guidelines on organ donations.

The lawmakers lamented that despite the issuance of administrative orders, rampant black market organ harvesting remains in the Philippines making it as one of the world’s hotspots for organ harvesting.

Under the measures, particularly that of Rodriguez, only organs that are voluntarily donated with full informed consent by a competent adult shall be subject for transplantation and all health-related facilities shall not allow the trade or commerce of organ vendors. The measure also provides that foreigners are not eligible to receive organs from Filipino non-related donors except when the donor is a living related donor.

Rodriguez cited that in 2007, more than 50 percent of 1,046 kidney transplants conducted in the Philippines benefit foreigners, violating a 10-percent cap on the number of transplants to foreign recipients that was set on 2003. More than 80 percent of the donors were not related to the recipients, he disclosed.

Under his bill, the violators will face a penalty of two-year imprisonment and a fine amounting to P200,000. The license of those health and health related facilities which fail to comply will be suspended. Medical professionals who violate the proposed law will be slapped accordingly by the DoH or by the Professional Regulations Commission without prejudice to the filing of appropriate civil and criminal proceedings.

Negros Oriental Rep. Pryde Henry Teves proposed to include a provision in the consolidated bill that will allow any person, including jail inmates to be organ donors. He made the proposal after the Department of Justice denied a request of an inmate of the National Bilibid Prisons (NBP) to donate his kidney for a relative who needed to undergo a kidney transplant.

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