MANILA, Philippines – Ifugao Governor Eugene Balitang is pushing for the legalization of marijuana in the province to be used for medicinal purposes.
Balitang said the legalization should have limits.
“This can be a substitute for morphine for cancer patients, especially ‘yung hindi na talaga kaya ng pain relievers. Marijuana, if regulated, can ease the pain,” he said.
However, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) rejected the governor’s proposal.
“Paano natin mare-regulate? Saan ang usage ng marijuana? Is there really a medicinal purpose sa marijuana?” said Dir. Ronald Allan Ricardo, regional director of PDEA-Cordillera Autonomous Region (CAR).
The Department of Health (DOH), meanwhile, said there has been no scientific study proving that marijuana can cure illnesses.
“Kaya nga ang marijuana ay ipinagbawal dahil mayroon siyang addictive elements. So kapag tinake ‘yan sa paninigarilyo, nakakasira ‘yan sa nervous system saka sa brain natin,” said Dr. Erwin Baclig, chief of the licensing and regulation division of DOH-CAR.
PDEA said authorities have confiscated nearly P350 million worth of marijuana in CAR from January to June this year.
In 2004, former Ifugao Congressman Solomon Chungalao also proposed that marijuana plantations be legalized but it did not push through. -- Report from Ada Sibayan, ABS-CBN News Northern Luzon