THE Philippines Against Child Trafficking (PACT) continue to detest organ trade in the black market.
PACT, committed against any form of illegal trafficking of humans and organs, was alarmed with the latest statement of newly appointed Health Secretary Enrique Ona, on his plans to remove the ban on the sale of organs in the country.
Last June 2009, in response to the thriving black market sale of organs in the Philippines through the internet, former Health secretary Francisco Duque instituted the ban on organ donation of those who are not of immediate family to the patient in need of organ transplant.
Ona said in an interview over national television that he is opposed to the total ban on organ transplants from living non-related Filipino donors to foreigners and he is open to giving "gratuity packages" to donors.
Based on the research on organ providers in Quezon Province conducted by the Kidney Vendors Study Group starting in 2008, the organ providers were mainly motivated by money.
However, the money paid to them failed to improve their economic conditions or provide a sustainable source of income. Some organ providers have even become recruiters because of the need to augment their earnings, a release from PACT added.
Moreover, the health secretary, after criticisms from those opposed to organ donation retracted his statement last July 6 and said the agency will place further studies on organ donation before removing the ban.
Among the illegal organ trade being given attention by PACT included illegal organ donation of kidneys, which resulted to DOH giving an order on the ban of donating organs, including payment as precondition for kidney donation, sale or purchase.
It added that kidney transplantation is not part of medical tourism and foreigners were also prohibited to receive organs from Filipinos.
The health directive which Ona, a pioneer in organ donation in the country, wants scrapped also prohibits all health and health-related facilities and professionals from engaging in the trade of kidneys and other organs.
"New schemes to circumvent the law are always brewing. Thus, we are urging government to implement the law and pin down the syndicates and the involved medical professionals and establishments. Government is also urged to search for the other victims of organ trafficking and to provide them with the necessary health, economic, and legal services, as well as assistance in seeking justice, redress, and payment for damages," PACT stated. (JM Agreda)