Flavier Bats for Alternative Medicine

Article excerpt

Byline: ELLALYN B. DE VERA

The struggle for freedom of medical choice in the Philippines has been an issue for quite some time where the preferred healthcare of consumers and medical exercise of physicians hampered the growing acceptance of alternative medical therapy.

But for Senator Juan M. Flavier, improving alternative medicine and pursuing herbal medicinal research and development in the country is a "tireless" effort.

It was in 1992, during the term of Flavier, as then Secretary of Department of Health (DoH), when the DoH introduced a brochure of 10 medicinal plants (akapulko, ampalaya, bawang, bayabas, lagundi, niyog-niyogan, pansit-pansitan, sambong, tsaang-gubat, and yerba buena) for common health problems and commercial production.

In line with Senator Flaviers advocacy to alternative medicine, he authored the Traditional and Alternative Medicine Act or TAMA, which was passed in 1997, and approved on Dec. 9 of the same year.

Under the Republic Act (R.A.) No. 8423, the Philippine Institute of Traditional and Alternative Health Care (PITAHC) is mandated to accelerate the development of countrys traditional and alternative health care.

Likewise, the Act will provide for a traditional and alternative health care development fund and for other purposes.

In an exclusive interview with Senator Flavier, the legislator said that the Philippine Medical Association (PMA) blocks the use of traditional and alternative medicine because the association says, "it is a return to the stone age."

According to the Senator, the PMA said that turning to alternative medicine is "Mali! (Its wrong!)."

"I have my answer to the PMA, My acronym is TAMA (Traditional and Alternative Medicine Act)! That is where the acronym derived," the Senator jestingly said.

"If we base it from the rural development background, one-third of Filipino consumers have sufficient means for medical treatment, one-third either can or cannot afford and the other one-third do not have enough for medical treatment. The last third, is where our concern is. We have to sustain their medical needs," Senator Flavier explained. …