By Charissa Luci
Approval of the medicinal marijuana bill before the end of the first regular session of the 17th Congress in June is being eyed by its author, Isabela Rep. Rodito Albano.
Albano said he would exhaust all means to ensure that House Bill 180, the proposed Philippine Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act, will be passed by the House plenary before June.
“I think the majority will vote for it. There’s a strong clamor now to support the bill,” he said in an interview with the Manila Bulletin.
“I’ll try to do it (plenary approval) before June,” Albano said.
Congress is on a month long break and will resume session on May 2, then adjourn on June 2.
The House Committee on Health, chaired by Quezon Rep. Angelina “Helen” Tan, created a technical working group (TWG) to scrutinize and hammer out the provisions of HB 180, which seeks to legalize the medicinal use of cannabis or marijuana in the country.
The Departments of Health (DOH) and of Science and Technology (DOST)-Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) proposed that safeguards be put in place to ensure the medicinal use of marijuana would not be abused.
Albano expressed optimism that his proposal would finally see the light this 17th Congress amid President Duterte’s intensified war on illegal drugs.
He said Congress should pass his measure to help thousands of patients in the country suffering from serious and debilitating diseases.
“We are not decriminalizing marijuana,” he said, hopeful that the Duterte administration will include his proposal in its list of priority measures.
Albano maintained that his measure contains very stringent control provisions on the use of medical marijuana to prevent any abuse.
“I have high hopes under the Duterte administration that this measure would be enacted into law. Finally, there is hope for our people, especially our children, who suffer from medical conditions like epilepsy, cancer, and multiple sclerosis,” he said.