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Why is the Philippines ‘reluctant’ in ‘legalizing’ use of medical cannabis?

Richard Nixon Gomez and PAPI

A known doctor, scientist, researcher, broadcaster lamented that legalizing the use of medicinal cannabis or marijuana still experiences a rough sailing in Congress even if 70 nations are already prescribing this.

Dr. Richard Nixon Gomez, the president of Bauertek Corporation, a research, development and manufacturing company in Guiguinto, Bulacan is also known as “Kaibigan sa Kalusugan.”

“Bauertek is one of the most advanced if not the most advanced (pharmaceutical, manufacturer) companies in the Philippines,” according to Gomez. He also can be credited for manufacturing one of the known medicines for Covid-19—the Ivermectin as approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Gomez was one of the guest speakers at the Publishers Association of the Philippines Inc. (PAPI) 2023 Midyear Executive Session held at the Makati Sports Club last Saturday, June 24. He mentioned that several House bills are now pending in Congress but lawmakers are yet to act on them.

Bauertek is way above Philippine standards as manufacturer of medical products, supplements and cosmetics. It now has cannabis plantations in various parts of the Philippines and also has facilities to dry the medical cannabis buds, the part used for extracting oil, manufacturing capsule or pills.

Gomez said that countries like Germany, France, Switzerland import cannabis for their medical needs since they do not have the capability to farm the plants on a large scale. “We can produce these and export to them, tax-free,” he lamented.

Earlier, Dr. Germ Mutia, founder of Philippine Society of Cannabinoid Medicine, cited the role of medical cannabis in the treatment of various ailments, including epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, depression and those suffering from body pains due to cancer.

He further said that there are currently eight or nine cannabis-related bills pending in Congress, seeking to decriminalize its use. This is aside from a petition reportedly filed by patients or parents of patients to the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) to reclassify cannabis and cannabis resin just like the reclassification of the UN.

Gomez disclosed that one reason why lawmakers are supposedly reluctant in pushing for the approval of bills to legalize the use of marijuana is the “lack” of popularity of these pending laws. “Baka kasi ma-bash sila (lawmakers) at hindi sila manalo sa susunod,” the scientist said in jest.

He appealed to media guests in the occasion to help him lobby to Congress to decriminalize the use of medical cannabis.

The public can listen to Dr. Gomez’s radio programs on Radio Veritas 846 KHz on AM Radio, www.veritas846.ph Monday – Friday 2:00pm -3:00 pm; DWWW 774 on AM Radio, www.774dwww.ph Monday – Friday 6:00 pm –7:00 pm ; DZWT 540 KHz on AM Radio, www.dzwt540.com, Monday – Thursday 7pm – 8pm; J101.5 FM Big Radio www.J101FM.wix.com/BIGRADIO, Saturday, 8:00 am– 9:00 am; DWZR 101.7 FMRadio, www.facebook.com/Birahee.

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