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PHNO HEADLINE NEWS THIS PAST WEEK
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

'IGLESIA NI CRISTO' CRISIS FAR FROM OVER, SAYS EXPELLED MINISTER


AUGUST 10 --THE crisis in the Iglesia ni Cristo is far from over, expelled Minister Isaias Samson Jr. through his lawyer said in a statement Monday. “Mr. Samson would like to make it clear, that contrary to the statements made recently by INC Executive Minister, Eduardo Manalo, the crisis brought about by corrupt practices in the said Church, is not over. Not by a long shot,” lawyers Trixie Angeles and Ahmed Paglinawan, counsels for Samson, said in a statement. Executive Minister Eduardo Manalo during a special worship service said the INC congregation is now back to normal.
He also denied corruption and other allegations hounding the INC and urged members not to listen to those who are fomenting discord. But Samson said it is not about maligning the religion but about criminal activities to which he wants justice not only for the illegal detention of his family but also the treatment of other ministers and members. READ MORE...RELATED STORY...

ALSO Study: Asian tourists prefer pristine beaches, upscale hotels


AUGUST 17 --The Visa Affluent Study 2015, conducted among well-heeled Asia-Pacific families, proves that the destination is just as important as the quality of accommodation. Philstar.com/File
A study on the vacation habits of rich Asians shows that pristine beaches and upscale hotels top the list for family vacations, and the Philippines may just be in a position to grab this opportunity. The Visa Affluent Study 2015, conducted among well-heeled Asia-Pacific families, proves that the destination is just as important as the quality of accommodation. Most preferred upscale hotels to mid-scale ones, although boutique hotels were also popular among respondents from Australia, China, Hong Kong and Singapore. Stuart Tomlinson, Visa country manager for the Philippines and Guam, said the Philippines, with its abundance of white sand beaches, island resorts and popular shopping destinations, is well positioned to attract affluent travelers. “The results of the study present an opportunity for the public and private sectors to boost tourism activities and make the country a preferred destination,” he said. When asked for the main activities when traveling abroad, 44 percent of respondents said their top pick is relaxing on a beach, 36 percent want shopping in popular or large shopping centers and 35 percent prefer exploring landmarks independently. More than a quarter, or 27 percent of respondents, said they travel to try out popular local restaurants. READ MORE...

ALSO: House mulls legalizing medical marijuana


AUGUST 12 --Movie and television personality Angel Aquino carries Kendra Janae Clemente who suffers from infantile spasms during a photo exhibit on the medical benefits of marijuana at the House of Representatives on Monday. Michael Varcas
MANILA, Philippines - The committee on health of the House of Representatives is considering the legalization of cannabis or marijuana for medical purposes. In the course of a hearing yesterday on Bill 4477, titled “The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act,” committee chairman La Union Rep. Eufranio Eriguel said a technical working group (TWG) would be created to draft the panel’s version of the measure. “The TWG will consider and consolidate all inputs from the authors, resource persons from the medical profession and government agencies and concerned non-government organizations,” he said. Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano III, principal author of Bill 4477, welcomed the committee’s decision. He said it would give hope to persons “with debilitating disease, severe pain, intense seizures and persistent muscle spasms that the legal solution to their problem is at hand.” “I know most of you are desperate for alternative treatment. I know you have gotten tired of using only pharmaceutical drugs, yet your conditions continue to deteriorate,” he said. “I feel for all the parents who have spent huge sums of money and are continuing to spend more. You see light at the end of the long, dark tunnel of your children’s suffering and pain,” he said. READ MORE...

ALSO IN DEFENSE OF PROPOSED MEDICAL CANNABIS ACT: Congressman remembers splendor of the grass


AUGUST 12 --FOND MEMORIES OF MARIJUANA DAZE Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano III recalls how marijuana made him “sound smart” as a freshman in college in a congressional hearing on Tuesday on the proposed law legalizing the “compassionate use” of cannabis to relieve the chronic and debilitating symptoms of dreaded diseases. VILLAMOR VISAYA JR./INQUIRER NORTHERN LUZON
Experience must indeed be the best teacher, because long after his college years, Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano III still recalled how marijuana had once proved “compassionate” to him.Albano appeared on Tuesday before a panel at the House of Representatives to defend the proposed “Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act,” which would legalize the use of marijuana to relieve chronic or debilitating conditions. As a college freshman, the congressman recounted how he had gone to class after using some cannabis and later found that it had increased the “absorptive capacity” of his brain.
“I was just staring at the teacher in a daze,” Albano said, adding that for some inexplicable reason, he later found himself debating with his professor for some 30 minutes. “The teacher told me afterward, ‘Matalino ka pala (So you’re smart after all)!’ I didn’t have the heart to tell him, ‘Father, I just smoked weed,’” Albano recounted before the health committee of Congress.Positive experience Despite his positive experience with cannabis, the congressman said he was not supporting the recreational use of marijuana. “I don’t want kids lighting up because the effect is you become lethargic or lazy,” he said.Under House Bill No. 4477, the government would “legalize and regulate the medical use of cannabis which has been confirmed to have beneficial and therapeutic uses to treat chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition.” The proposed law espouses the beneficial uses of cannabis in treating and relieving symptoms like pain and nausea that arise from debilitating medical conditions, such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and HIV-AIDS. READ MORE...

ALSO: Doctors against medical marijuana


AUGUST 14 ---According to some reports, the Philippines is one of the countries that offer marijuana at low prices. Per kilogram of weed, you can buy it from $380 to $420 and less than one US dollar for a gram. Marijuana prices may vary with location and from whom you will buy it. The Department of Health does not recognize the medical benefits of cannabis. It is illegal and drug enforcement agencies will continue to go after those who are growing, selling and using it. Doctors from at least 16 medical associations yesterday stood up against House Bill No. 4477, the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Bill, saying it does not deserve to be a law. “We are a country on the case of chaos. We need serious leaders and we need serious people because our problems are bigger than now than any other kind in history. We need leaders that serve people rather than do irresponsible acts, particularly this particular bill,” Philippine College of Physicians (PCP) president Tony Leachon said yesterday in a health forum. Leachon pointed out that there are many problems besetting the country that are bigger and deserve to be tackled. “If they [lawmakers] really care for this country, then the first thing they should do is to scrap this bill,” he said. “There are many diseases that cannot be addressed. The PhilHealth [Philippine Health Insurance Corporation] scam is all over. We don’t know where the sin taxes are going. And our legislators are making a useless law? Or maybe this [HB 4477] is important, but it’s not timely,” he added. Moreover, if the medical cannabis is proven to be unsafe after the law is passed, Leachon said, then lawmakers would have to “demolish the law.” Aside from the PCP, the other medical organizations against the bill are: Philippine Medical Association (PMA), Child Neurology Society of the Philippine, Group for Addiction Psychiatry of the Philippines, Pain Society of the Philippines, Philippine League Against Epilepsy, Inc., Philippine Neurological Association, Philippine Psychiatric Association (PPA), Philippine Society of Clinical and Occupational Toxicology, UP-PGH National Poison Management and Control Center, Philippine Society of General Internal Medicine, Philippine Neurological Association, Philippine Psychiatric Association, Philippine Society of Clinical and Occupational Toxicology, UP-PGH National Poison Management and Control Center, and the Philippine Society of General Internal Medicine. STRONG OPPOSITION In a joint statement read by Leachon, the medical associations said: “We strongly oppose House Bill 4477 on the compassionate use of cannabis or marijuana.” READ MORE...

ALSO: Medical use of marijuana OK with bishops


FLASHBACK TO JUNE 2014 Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop and CBCP president Socrates Villegas: Morally justifiable for terminal cancer patients in severe pain INQUIRER FILE PHOTO
The local Catholic Church is not absolutely opposed to the idea of legalizing marijuana so long as it is for medical purposes. “Catholic health care ethics, in fact, considers as morally justifiable the use of marijuana for terminal cancer patients in severe pain,” Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, the president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), said in a statement. “The present provisions of Republic Act No. 9165 [the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002] allow the regulated prescription and use even of such substances as marijuana as part of pain management in such medical conditions as terminal cancer,” Villegas said.Compassionate use Section 2 of RA 9165 states: “The Government shall aim to achieve a balance in the national drug control program so that people with legitimate medical needs are not prevented from being treated with adequate amounts of appropriate medications, which include the use of dangerous drugs.” Villegas issued the statement following the recent filing in Congress by Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano III of House Bill No. 4477, the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act. The resolution has since gained the support of several lawmakers. Under the bill, the government must “legalize and regulate the medical use of cannabis which has been confirmed to have beneficial and therapeutic uses to treat chronic or debilitating disease or medical conditions.” The bill refers to diseases that cause a patient to suffer chronic pain, severe nausea and seizures, among other conditions. READ MORE...

ALSO Harvard's Research Result: Human Cost of Coal - Indonesia


AUGUST 12 --Open publication - Free publishing
HOW COAL-FIRED POWER PLANTS THREATEN THE HEALTH OF INDONESIANS Indonesia is at a critical crossroad and what the government decides in the next few months will determine, literally, the life or death of an estimated 28,300 Indonesians every year. For the first time, this report will give a detailed look at the level of morbidity and mortality associated with every coal-fired power plant in the Archipelago. This information has been produced just as the Energy Ministry considers how to fulfill an ambitious plan to build an additional 35 Gigawatts (GW) of new power plants. At this stage it appears 22,000 megawatts of this power would come from coal power plants and the calculation shows that it will create 21.200 deaths at stake, This report makes it clear there is a real choice to be made. Does the government meet the nation’s soaring energy requirement by building over a hundred new coal-fired power plants or is it time to fast track safer energy options.
The Problem: Indonesia has dozens of coal-fired power plants that emit hundreds of thousands of tonnes of pollution every year. These power plants fill the air with toxic pollutants, including mercury, lead, arsenic, cadmium and tiny toxic particles that go deep into people’s lungs. READ MORE...

ALSO: 2 possible supertyphoons threaten to enter PH / Safety tips during a typhoon


AUGUST 14 -Satellite image from Pagasa
The state weather bureau is monitoring a weather disturbance that may develop into a supertyphoon once it enters the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR).Weather forecaster Manny Mendoza of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said the supertyphoon would be named “Ineng” once it enters PAR. Mendoza said the typhoon is moving slowly at nine kilometers per hour toward PAR.
He said the supertyphoon may enter PAR anytime next week, between August 19 to 20, which would enhance “habagat” or the southwest monsoon.The supertyphoon, however, is not expected to make landfall in the Philippines and would go straight to Japan if it would continue to track its current path.
Meanwhile, Pagasa is also monitoring another possible supertyphoon in the Pacific which may enter PAR after Ineng.
Safety tips during a typhoon READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

INC crisis far from over, says expelled minister

MANILA, AUGUST 17, 2015  (INQUIRER) By: Tetch Torres-Tupas @T2TupasINQ
INQUIRER.net 06:21 PM August 10th, 2015

THE crisis in the Iglesia ni Cristo is far from over, expelled Minister Isaias Samson Jr. through his lawyer said in a statement Monday.

“Mr. Samson would like to make it clear, that contrary to the statements made recently by INC Executive Minister, Eduardo Manalo, the crisis brought about by corrupt practices in the said Church, is not over.

Not by a long shot,” lawyers Trixie Angeles and Ahmed Paglinawan, counsels for Samson, said in a statement.
Executive Minister Eduardo Manalo during a special worship service said the INC congregation is now back to normal.

He also denied corruption and other allegations hounding the INC and urged members not to listen to those who are fomenting discord.

But Samson said it is not about maligning the religion but about criminal activities to which he wants justice not only for the illegal detention of his family but also the treatment of other ministers and members.

READ MORE...

“This is not a schism. This is not a doctrinal issue. This is an issue of the frailty and in some instances criminal behavior of persons, whom we will later identify in the appropriate cases. His trust in God remains,” Samson’s statement said.

Samson and his family were expelled and detained after the INC’s council of elders suspected him of being “Antonio Evangelista,” the blogger who have been writing about the alleged questionable activities of INC.

Samson said they were detained in Quezon City. They managed to escape in the guise of attending church.

“Mr. Samson needs to speak through his counsel because for the moment, the threat on his life and well-being remains real and continues.

Despite this, however, he will not be silenced. He has been removed from the Church but his devotion to God and his faith are unshaken,” the statement read.

-------------------------------------------------

RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

NC crisis over; leadership returning to normal By Robertzon Ramirez (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 6, 2015 - 12:00am 3 1063 googleplus1 2


JULY 2014 PHOTO OF REVERED LEADER-- Iglesia ni Cristo Executive Minister Eduardo V Manalo, the church's third leader, follows in the footsteps of Iglesia founder Felix Manalo. Filipinos have known the INC for its strictness since its founder, Felix Manalo, registered the group with the Philippine government on July 27, 1914. The INC bans marrying non-INC members, gambling, and excessive drinking, among other things. It requires members to vote only the politicians whom their leaders endorse. It is also commonly known to oblige tithing – or donating 10% of one's income to the INC – but the INC itself denies this. Photo by Mark Cristino courtesy of rappler.com

MANILA, Philippines - The Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) congregation is now almost back to normal after the recent crisis that rocked the religious sect.

Executive minister Eduardo Manalo initiated a “tanging pagtitipon” – a special worship service – Wednesday night in select churches.

He has denied corruption and other allegations hounding the INC and urged members not to listen to those who are fomenting discord.

“Ka Eduardo said not to believe detractors because they have no proof,” an insider told The STAR in Filipino. “He said that they are just creating divisions within INC.”

Eduardo urged them to strengthen their faith and to ignore those trying to malign their religion, the insider said.

”He was calling on us to be obedient and to adhere to the administration,” the insider said in Filipino.

The INC was rocked with criticisms a few days after Felix Nathaniel “Angel” Manalo, younger brother of Eduardo, and their mother, Cristina “Tenny,” posted a one-minute video asking help from their supporters as their lives were allegedly in danger.

A few minutes after the video was posted, Eduardo expelled Angel and Tenny, along with his other siblings Lottie and Marco.

The special worship service started at 7:15 p.m. and ended at 8:15 p.m., the insider said.

Eduardo read a lot of biblical verses and gave pieces of advice after every verse, the source added.

The special service started with the INC’s hymn, prayers and the reading of biblical verses.

A lot of ministers became emotional when Eduardo uttered: “Magtatagumpay ang kalaban kung mamatay na ako (The enemy will be victorious if I die),” the source added.


PHILSTAR

Asian tourists prefer pristine beaches, upscale hotels By Ted Torres (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 17, 2015 - 12:00am 0 1 googleplus0 1


The Visa Affluent Study 2015, conducted among well-heeled Asia-Pacific families, proves that the destination is just as important as the quality of accommodation. Philstar.com/File

MANILA, Philippines - A study on the vacation habits of rich Asians shows that pristine beaches and upscale hotels top the list for family vacations, and the Philippines may just be in a position to grab this opportunity.

The Visa Affluent Study 2015, conducted among well-heeled Asia-Pacific families, proves that the destination is just as important as the quality of accommodation.

Most preferred upscale hotels to mid-scale ones, although boutique hotels were also popular among respondents from Australia, China, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Stuart Tomlinson, Visa country manager for the Philippines and Guam, said the Philippines, with its abundance of white sand beaches, island resorts and popular shopping destinations, is well positioned to attract affluent travelers.

“The results of the study present an opportunity for the public and private sectors to boost tourism activities and make the country a preferred destination,” he said.

When asked for the main activities when traveling abroad, 44 percent of respondents said their top pick is relaxing on a beach, 36 percent want shopping in popular or large shopping centers and 35 percent prefer exploring landmarks independently.

More than a quarter, or 27 percent of respondents, said they travel to try out popular local restaurants.

READ MORE...

In the past three years, foreign arrivals in the Philippines averaged over four million, with an average receipt of over $4 billion per year. However, on a global scale, it accounts only for less than two percent of active tourists.

The study, which also looked into the travel patterns of affluent consumers in eight major markets in Asia Pacific, found that four in five, or 82 percent of respondents have traveled with their families in the past 12 months and that they prefer to spend their holidays within the region.

Over the past 12 months, Japan ranked as the top destination – garnering 26 percent of respondents’ nod – followed by Hong Kong and Australia.

In the same period, the survey shows the region’s most frequent affluent travelers are those from Singapore and China (3.1 trips each), followed by Hong Kong (2.8 trips) and India (2.0 trips).

James Lim, Visa head of consumer products for Asia and Pacific, said family vacations have become important occasions that affluent families in the region look forward to every year.


PHILSTAR

House mulls legalizing medical marijuana By Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) | Updated August 12, 2015 - 12:00am 1 27 googleplus0 1


Movie and television personality Angel Aquino carries Kendra Janae Clemente who suffers from infantile spasms during a photo exhibit on the medical benefits of marijuana at the House of Representatives on Monday. Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines - The committee on health of the House of Representatives is considering the legalization of cannabis or marijuana for medical purposes.

In the course of a hearing yesterday on Bill 4477, titled “The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act,” committee chairman La Union Rep. Eufranio Eriguel said a technical working group (TWG) would be created to draft the panel’s version of the measure.

“The TWG will consider and consolidate all inputs from the authors, resource persons from the medical profession and government agencies and concerned non-government organizations,” he said.

Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano III, principal author of Bill 4477, welcomed the committee’s decision.

He said it would give hope to persons “with debilitating disease, severe pain, intense seizures and persistent muscle spasms that the legal solution to their problem is at hand.”

“I know most of you are desperate for alternative treatment. I know you have gotten tired of using only pharmaceutical drugs, yet your conditions continue to deteriorate,” he said.

“I feel for all the parents who have spent huge sums of money and are continuing to spend more. You see light at the end of the long, dark tunnel of your children’s suffering and pain,” he said.

READ MORE...

He added that there have been research findings that children with frequent medical seizures who were given medical marijuana felt a great improvement in their condition.

Albano pointed out that his bill seeks to allow the use of medical marijuana under strict regulations to be issued by the Department of Health and the Food and Drug Administration.

“The use of cannabis will be permitted only for medicinal and not recreational purposes,” he stressed.

He challenged critics of his bill to “shed your fear of the unknown and open your minds to the potential benefits of medical marijuana.”

“Marijuana, even in its raw form, is not harmful, unlike tobacco and liquor. I am the best proof of this. Out of curiosity, I used it in college, but I did not become a bad person. I did not become an addict,” he said.

He said his father had a friend who was a police general who smoked marijuana “because he considered it less harmful than smoking cigarettes or drinking.”

Rep. Leah Paquiz of the party-list group Ang Nars said she supports the Albano bill.

She emotionally told her colleagues that her son died in August last year “from a debilitating disease.”

“We could no longer afford morphine, which is expensive, and we wanted to use medical marijuana, but the law does not allow it. We had hoped that there was an alternative drug,” she said.

Romeo Quijano, one of several doctors invited by the Eriguel committee, said 23 states and the District of Columbia in the United States allow medical marijuana.

“There is no single death in the US in 2014 attributed directly to the use of marijuana, unlike smoking and drinking,” he said.

He said there is ongoing extensive research in the US, Spain and Israel on the medical uses of cannabis both in its raw and purified form.


INQUIRER

IN DEFENSE OF PROPOSED MEDICAL CANNABIS ACT: Congressman remembers splendor of the grass @inquirerdotnet 04:20 AM August 12th, 2015


FOND MEMORIES OF MARIJUANA DAZE Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano III recalls how marijuana made him “sound smart” as a freshman in college in a congressional hearing on Tuesday on the proposed law legalizing the “compassionate use” of cannabis to relieve the chronic and debilitating symptoms of dreaded diseases. VILLAMOR VISAYA JR./INQUIRER NORTHERN LUZON

Experience must indeed be the best teacher, because long after his college years, Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano III still recalled how marijuana had once proved “compassionate” to him.

Albano appeared on Tuesday before a panel at the House of Representatives to defend the proposed “Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act,” which would legalize the use of marijuana to relieve chronic or debilitating conditions.

As a college freshman, the congressman recounted how he had gone to class after using some cannabis and later found that it had increased the “absorptive capacity” of his brain.

“I was just staring at the teacher in a daze,” Albano said, adding that for some inexplicable reason, he later found himself debating with his professor for some 30 minutes.

“The teacher told me afterward, ‘Matalino ka pala (So you’re smart after all)!’ I didn’t have the heart to tell him, ‘Father, I just smoked weed,’” Albano recounted before the health committee of Congress.

Positive experience

Despite his positive experience with cannabis, the congressman said he was not supporting the recreational use of marijuana.
“I don’t want kids lighting up because the effect is you become lethargic or lazy,” he said.
Under House Bill No. 4477, the government would “legalize and regulate the medical use of cannabis which has been confirmed to have beneficial and therapeutic uses to treat chronic or debilitating disease or medical condition.”
The proposed law espouses the beneficial uses of cannabis in treating and relieving symptoms like pain and nausea that arise from debilitating medical conditions, such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and HIV-AIDS.

READ MORE...

The bill, however, maintains the prohibition on the possession and use of marijuana for nonmedical purposes, as well as smoking it in public, or while driving a vehicle.

While he did not support its recreational use, Albano noted that the crime rate in Colorado in the United States actually went down a year after the state legalized recreational marijuana in 2014.

Not ‘gateway drug’

“I don’t know why; maybe they all just became happy because they were sleeping all the time,” he said.

The congressman added that contrary to popular belief, marijuana was not a “gateway drug” that would encourage users to try stronger substances.

“I used marijuana but I never tried cocaine or shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride). I never became a hippie, or became fat because of eating too much,” Albano said, addressing another common belief that taking marijuana causes the munchies, or the urge to nibble food after.

People’s preconceived notions about marijuana are usually wrong, the Isabela representative said. “It’s the fear of the unknown that we need to overcome. We should not judge this drug and instead research its beneficial effects on people,” he added.

Among those open to the legalization proposal was ANG NARS Rep. Leah Paquiz, whose 33-year-old son died of pancreatic cancer last year.

Within reach

The pain her son suffered could have been relieved somewhat had he been prescribed medical marijuana, Paquiz said, adding that the next best alternative was to use a morphine patch which was not easy to order abroad.

“I look to the day when the cure becomes available, affordable and effective. I hope that medical cannabis will be within one’s reach,” Paquiz said.

University of the Philippines professor and toxicologist Romy Quijano also appeared before the panel and cited studies showing the therapeutic benefits of marijuana in its original form, and not as a pure extract, to alleviate the symptoms of dread diseases like cancer.

“Marijuana is a medicinal plant, not poison,” he said.

But Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) Undersecretary Jose Marlowe Pedragosa said the proposed measure did not give a precise definition of medical marijuana.

“Medical marijuana should be defined and should be a pharmacological product approved by various authorities,” the DDB official said.

While he also took exception to sections in the bill that appeared to “encourage” the smoking of marijuana, Pedragosa said the DDB did not oppose medical marijuana, “provided that (it) has undergone strict procedure(s) before it can be classified as such.”

Raw form

But Minerva Calimag of the Philippine Medical Association warned of the possible adverse effects of medical marijuana, noting that most people thought of cannabis in its “raw form.”

In its purified form, marijuana might actually have unintended side effects, Calimag said.

“The absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence. There will always come a time when more issues come up during the use of the drug,” she said, adding that some drugs were pulled out from the market after they were found to cause harm to patients.

RELATED STORIES

Bill seeking to legalize marijuana for medical purposes filed


MANILA BULLETIN

Doctors against medical marijuana by Charina Clarisse L. Echaluce August 14, 2015 Share1 Tweet1 Share0 Email0 Share42


According to some reports, the Philippines is one of the countries that offer marijuana at low prices. Per kilogram of weed, you can buy it from $380 to $420 and less than one US dollar for a gram. Marijuana prices may vary with location and from whom you will buy it.

Doctors from at least 16 medical associations yesterday stood up against House Bill No. 4477, the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Bill, saying it does not deserve to be a law.

“We are a country on the case of chaos. We need serious leaders and we need serious people because our problems are bigger than now than any other kind in history. We need leaders that serve people rather than do irresponsible acts, particularly this particular bill,” Philippine College of Physicians (PCP) president Tony Leachon said yesterday in a health forum.

Leachon pointed out that there are many problems besetting the country that are bigger and deserve to be tackled. “If they [lawmakers] really care for this country, then the first thing they should do is to scrap this bill,” he said.

“There are many diseases that cannot be addressed. The PhilHealth [Philippine Health Insurance Corporation] scam is all over. We don’t know where the sin taxes are going. And our legislators are making a useless law? Or maybe this [HB 4477] is important, but it’s not timely,” he added.

Moreover, if the medical cannabis is proven to be unsafe after the law is passed, Leachon said, then lawmakers would have to “demolish the law.”

Aside from the PCP, the other medical organizations against the bill are: Philippine Medical Association (PMA), Child Neurology Society of the Philippine, Group for Addiction Psychiatry of the Philippines, Pain Society of the Philippines, Philippine League Against Epilepsy, Inc., Philippine Neurological Association, Philippine Psychiatric Association (PPA), Philippine Society of Clinical and Occupational Toxicology, UP-PGH National Poison Management and Control Center, Philippine Society of General Internal Medicine, Philippine Neurological Association, Philippine Psychiatric Association, Philippine Society of Clinical and Occupational Toxicology, UP-PGH National Poison Management and Control Center, and the Philippine Society of General Internal Medicine.

STRONG OPPOSITION

In a joint statement read by Leachon, the medical associations said: “We strongly oppose House Bill 4477 on the compassionate use of cannabis or marijuana.”

First, the medical society is against the HB 4477 because it requires “a separate agency [Medical Cannabis Regulatory Agency] to regulate use of a single treatment which is both expensive and unnecessary. The Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are already mandated to undertake the functions proposed for this agency.”

The doctors also disagree because the law wants a separate legislative act to approve use of a single drug – which the medical associations believe to be “inefficient and unnecessary.”

PMA president Minerva Calimag said there would be “redundancy” if the bill would be passed as “there are many regulatory agencies addressing the use of marijuana such as the Dangerous Drugs Board, FDA, and the Department of Health.”

Moreover, Dr. Leonor Cabral Lim of the Philippine Neurological Association said, “Since 1992, Bureau of Food and Drugs already has an administrative order that terminally-ill patients in need of drugs that are unregistered with FDA can apply for it following correct process.”

HARMLESS

The claims that marijuana is not harmless is not true, PPA president Lou Querubin said citing numerous bad effects of marijuana in the body.

Querubin said nine percent of those who tried marijuana become addicted to it, while 25 to 50 percent of teenagers using marijuana will develop addiction when they get old. In addition, the effects of marijuana “immediately goes to the brain” affecting one’s thinking, feeling, and movements. Those who are using it, also have a bigger chance of having psychosis and short-term memory.

“It’s irresponsible to encourage the use of a substance like marijuana when it hasn’t been properly tested. Doctors do not often speak on issues but standing firm together in front of you today, we want to tell you that the law [HB 4477] does not have enough scientific evidence.”

Meanwhile, DDB Undersecretary Edgar Galvante said most of the things being said by the pro-medical marijuana bill depend plainly on “emotions” and “anecdotes.”

UNINVITED

Leachon also expressed disappointments that the doctors were not invited in the recent Congress hearing on HB 4477.

“They should have invited us. Congress needs statement of experts. How would they pass a bill on medicine if the experts are not in the hearing?” he said, adding that the sin tax law was passed because of the medical experts.

The medical community will ask help of other lawmakers. The groups will also write a letter to the President.

DOH: IT HAS GOOD INTENTION

Moreover, Health Secretary Janette Garin said she will “have to read the bill thoroughly” to look into some aspects, including how the use of marijuana won’t be abused if the bill becomes a law.

“But precise for me to say that the biggest challenge there is actually getting the support of the majority of the legislators. We will be reviewing it and we will also be looking at the questions on how it can be safeguarded. But more over, we are relying on the proponents of this measure,” she told reporters.

“The intention is very good. But we are also looking at the practicability. Is it doable? Are we prepared for it? If we are not prepared for it, how long will it take for us to be prepared, and when can it be implemented if ever the bill gets the full support of our legislators,” she added.

The health secretary, however, noted that the oppositors would also matter to them a lot.


INQUIRER FLASHBACK JUNE 2014

Medical use of marijuana OK–bishops @inquirerdotnet
08:17 AM June 27th, 2014


Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop and CBCP president Socrates Villegas: Morally justifiable for terminal cancer patients in severe pain INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines–The local Catholic Church is not absolutely opposed to the idea of legalizing marijuana so long as it is for medical purposes.

“Catholic health care ethics, in fact, considers as morally justifiable the use of marijuana for terminal cancer patients in severe pain,” Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, the president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), said in a statement.

“The present provisions of Republic Act No. 9165 [the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002] allow the regulated prescription and use even of such substances as marijuana as part of pain management in such medical conditions as terminal cancer,” Villegas said.

Compassionate use

Section 2 of RA 9165 states: “The Government shall aim to achieve a balance in the national drug control program so that people with legitimate medical needs are not prevented from being treated with adequate amounts of appropriate medications, which include the use of dangerous drugs.”

Villegas issued the statement following the recent filing in Congress by Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano III of House Bill No. 4477, the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act. The resolution has since gained the support of several lawmakers.

Under the bill, the government must “legalize and regulate the medical use of cannabis which has been confirmed to have beneficial and therapeutic uses to treat chronic or debilitating disease or medical conditions.”

The bill refers to diseases that cause a patient to suffer chronic pain, severe nausea and seizures, among other conditions.

READ MORE...

Despite legalizing the medical use of cannabis, the bill prohibits the possession and smoking of marijuana for nonmedical purposes.

Regulatory authority

The bill would also create a Medical Cannabis Regulatory Authority under the Department of Health.

Earlier, Fr. Dan Cansino, executive secretary of the CBCP’s Episcopal Commission on Health Care, expressed concern about the possible adverse effects of the proposed legislation such as leading users to greater substance abuse despite the limitations provided for in the bill.

Villegas said it was important the lawmakers and other government officials assured the public of protection from any dangers that may result from making marijuana readily available and accessible.

“We must, however, express concern about the surreptitious introduction of dangerous and addicting substances and making them legally readily available to those prone to addiction. The effects cannot be anything but harmful, especially for the youth and children,” he said.


GREENPEACE EAST ASIA

Harvard's Research Result: Human Cost of Coal - Indonesia Pada halaman ini Download: Laporan - 12 Agustus, 2015


Open publication - Free publishing

HOW COAL-FIRED POWER PLANTS THREATEN THE HEALTH OF INDONESIANS Indonesia is at a critical crossroad and what the government decides in the next few months will determine, literally, the life or death of an estimated 28,300 Indonesians every year.

For the first time, this report will give a detailed look at the level of morbidity and mortality associated with every coal-fired power plant in the Archipelago. This information has been produced just as the Energy Ministry considers how to fulfill an ambitious plan to build an additional 35 Gigawatts (GW) of new power plants.

At this stage it appears 22,000 megawatts of this power would come from coal power plants and the calculation shows that it will create 21.200 deaths at stake, This report makes it clear there is a real choice to be made. Does the government meet the nation’s soaring energy requirement by building over a hundred new coal-fired power plants or is it time to fast track safer energy options.

The Problem:

Indonesia has dozens of coal-fired power plants that emit hundreds of thousands of tonnes of pollution every year. These power plants fill the air with toxic pollutants, including mercury, lead, arsenic, cadmium and tiny toxic particles that go deep into people’s lungs.

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Air pollution is responsible for over three million premature deaths globally every year. This pollution leads to an increased risk of lung cancer, stroke, heart diseases, and respiratory diseases. Coal burning is one of the biggest contributors to this pollution.

The findings in this report are based on research done at Harvard University on the health impacts of air pollution from coal-fired power plants in Indonesia. The findings are extraordinary:

Existing coal-fired power plants in Indonesia cause an estimated 6,500 premature deaths every year.

Each large new power plant (1000 MW capacity) is expected to result, on average, in the death of 600 Indonesians every year.

Indonesia is planning to build over a hundred new coal-fired power plants. If these – and those currently under construction - are completed this death toll could rise to 28,300 people every year.

These deaths come from an increased risk of chronic diseases in adults and acute respiratory infection in children caused by exposure to toxic fine particle and ozone pollution.

Download:

Laporan Ringkas (bahasa): Ancaman Maut PLTU Batubara.

Laporan Lengkap (english): Human Cost of Coal Power.

Kategori
perubahan iklim, hutan


INQUIRER

2 possible supertyphoons threaten to enter PH / Safety tips during a typhoon  @inquirerdotnet 10:30 AM August 14th, 2015


Satellite image from Pagasa

The state weather bureau is monitoring a weather disturbance that may develop into a supertyphoon once it enters the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR).
Weather forecaster Manny Mendoza of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said the supertyphoon would be named “Ineng” once it enters PAR.

Mendoza said the typhoon is moving slowly at nine kilometers per hour toward PAR.

He said the supertyphoon may enter PAR anytime next week, between August 19 to 20, which would enhance “habagat” or the southwest monsoon.

The supertyphoon, however, is not expected to make landfall in the Philippines and would go straight to Japan if it would continue to track its current path.
Meanwhile, Pagasa is also monitoring another possible supertyphoon in the Pacific which may enter PAR after Ineng.

READ MORE...

Safety tips during a typhoon  @inquirerdotnet 05:44 PM December 5th, 2014

MANILA, Philippines–While government agencies prepare for the effects of Typhoon “Ruby,” which is expected to hit the Philippines on Saturday evening, residents on the path of the storm may find these safety tips useful.

Issued last year by the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), these set of guidelines remain relevant and useful.

The state weather bureau’s bulletin on Friday afternoon said Ruby, packing maximum sustained winds of 195 kilometers per hour, was last observed 380 kilometers east of Borongan, Eastern Samar.

The typhoon has weakened but is still expected to delivery heavy to intense rains throughout the country.

If there is a need to move to an evacuation center, follow these reminders:

Evacuate calmly. Close the windows and turn off the main power switch. Put important appliances and belongings on high ground. Avoid the way leading to the river.

Below are the contact numbers of concerned government agencies:


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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