What Happened to RA 8423 the Traditional and Alternative Medicine Act?

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Cancer is the highest cause of death among Filipinos since the year 2004, at least, the record on Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) shows. It was also shown that since 2012, 189 out of every 100,000 Filipinos get cancer. “Cancer claims the lives of 7 adults and 8 children every hour,” this is according to Cancer Coalition of the Philippines (CCPh). Meanwhile, according to the data from Department of Health’s (DOH) Philippine Cancer Facts and Estimates, there are approximately 8 deaths per day for childhood cancer.

Photo: Newsflash.org/2004/02/hl/hl113078.htm

Morteza Aghmesheh, a medical oncologist in Wollongong Hospital in Australia said that early detection must be the best key to your health care. According to the Philippine Cancer Society, in 2015 there are 11,000 new cases of cancer. The most common of these are liver, lung, breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer. In addition, the top of the new cancer deaths are liver, breast, and lung cancers. 70 percent of these deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries; this is according to the World Health Organization (WHO). “It is a possible that cancer cells are already present in one’s body and are only triggered by certain factors”, Aghmesheh added.

Photo: Ashoka.org/en-US/story/mental-health-care-helping-children-cancer-live-better

There are many possible causes of cancer but the factors known to increase cancer risks include age, habits, family history, environment, and health conditions. However, other possible causes are unhealthy sleep cycle, sedentary lifestyle, poor emotional health, acidity, and constipation. Specific examples of these are smoking, exposure to high amount of radiation, industrial pollution, exposure to heavy metals, too much drinking of alcohol and other sugary drinks, unhealthy diet such as daily consumption of processed food, no exercise, and sometimes, excessive exposure to sun.

Chemotherapy vs. Natural Treatment

Chemotherapy targets the cells that are rapidly growing. Unfortunately, it cannot tell the difference between cancerous cells and healthy cells. As a side effect, cells in gastrointestinal tract that have fast growing cells can be affected. It targets the specific cancer cells that’s why it changes the inner workings of the cell which makes it different from the normal, healthy cell. Some serious side effects of chemotherapy are diarrhea, nausea, and hair loss. Natural treatment, on the other hand, uses natural way of treating the unhealthy cells by using food and herbal plants that stimulates and boosts the immune system to fight cancer cells.

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Photo: Nbcnews.com/id/38114586/ns/health-cancer/t/lifesaving-cancer-drugs-may-put-workers-lives-risk/

On July 10, 2010, the Seattle Times aired the story of Sue Crump, a veteran pharmacist of 20 years. Crump spent much of her time dispensing chemotherapy drugs. Sue died in 2011 from pancreatic cancer and one of her dying wishes was that “the truth be told about how her on-the-job exposure to toxic chemotherapy drugs caused her own cancer”. Every oncologist knows that chemotherapy drugs cause genetic damage as it is genotoxic. Chemotherapy interacts with genes (DNA) and causes genetic mutations, known risk factor for developing cancer.

The Republic Act 8423 or Traditional and Alternative Medicine Act (TAMA)

On the year 1992, Senator Juan Flavier from the Department of Health (DOH) implemented the Traditional Medicine Program through administrative Order No. 12. The program aims to promote and advocate traditional medicine in the Philippines. In 1997, Republic Act 8423 or Traditional and Alternative Medicine Act (TAMA) have set the way for the production of alternative medicines from certain herbs proven safe, effective, and affordable. This Act also created the Philippine Institute of Traditional and Alternative Health Care (PITAHC) which the purpose is to “accelerate the development of traditional and alternative health care in the Philippine, providing for a traditional and alternative health care development fund and for other purposes”.

Photo: Dailysabah.com/health/2017/08/24/turkey-embraces-alternative-and-complementary-medicine

In addition, according to Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) website:

The law recognizes the importance of traditional or alternative medicine in providing essential health care to the people. Despite the medical treatment provided by the Western countries which at most could not be afforded by Filipinos living below the poverty line, traditional medicine which has been passed from generation to generation has become significant in our health care system.

National Integrated Cancer Law or Universal Health Care

The National Integrated Cancer Law, on the other hand, is a new law signed by President Duterte last February 20, 2019 that “mandates the establishment of the Philippine Cancer Center under the control and supervision of the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital”. In addition, it also encourages the establishment of regional cancer centers and registry nationwide which would help the government to extend cash assistance for cancer patients and for the research.

According to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, the RA 11215 aims to “provide framework for an integrated and comprehensive approach to health development, family-centered cancer control policies and programs, as well as interventions at all levels of the existing health care delivery system”. The Universal Health Care law (UHC) also aims to provide free maintenance medications for all Filipino including anti-diabetes, etc. “The newly signed UHC law provides high quality services but very affordable through curative, preventive, and palliative services. The poor and those from disadvantaged areas shall be prioritized in the implementation of the law”, said Duque.

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Photo: Philstar.com/headlines/2019/02/20/1895304/duterte-signs-universal-health-care-bill-law

What happened to the TAMA Act?

However, on one conversation, Mr. Jack Bunch, the husband of Dr. Farrah Agustin-Bunch whose clinic have been forced to be shut down by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stated, “This is a terrible law designed to promote chemo, surgery and radiation. It would have been very difficult to pass this with the success of natural treatment. It’s another reason why our clinic needed to disappear from the radar”. He also continued, “This is a law designed by oncologists and their pharmaceutical cronies to promote oncology, nothing more. It contravenes the TAMA Act. Please read the act and see how it specifically directs cancer treatment towards oncology. We have already demonstrated the effective treatment of cancer using natural means so why would natural cancer treatment be omitted from the act completely?”

Photo: Mindanaodailymirror.ph/Main/full_article/senators-hail-duterte-s-signing-of-universal-health-law1008

If you read articles online about this new UHC Act, it is true that there was no mention about TAMA Act. There are no information also about alternative or natural treatment to cancer. All over the world, it is already known to many that cancer can be treated naturally and through non-synthetic, non-chemical method. With the use of food and plants that has high nutritional value, especially organic, our body’s immune system recovers and strengthens itself against daily stressors and other factors that causes cancer or triggers cancer cells. With the use of vitamins and minerals that are commonly found on our local flora and fauna, we can reverse cancer without the risk of harmful and toxic side effects. The big question is, what happened to TAMA Act? Where is the public and government support on alternative medicine especially on the treatment of cancer?


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Alter Picar

Alter Picar is a writer, translator, self-published author, songwriter / musician, community worker, non-profit organization manager (volunteer), mental health advocate / educator, librarian, and organic gardener.



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