RA 8981. “Anti-Medical Mission” Law in the Philippines?

Provinces and regions of the Philippines
Provinces and regions of the Philippines (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At the bottom of this post is an article about a new Philippine Law that is deemed to be anti-medical missions. I would recommend reading the article below to decide for yourself. I am NOT an expert on this law at all… nor plan to be, since I rarely do medical missions in the Philippines anymore. The law can be looked at a number of ways.

1.  It does “punish” foreigners for providing medical care in the Philippines. Ostensibly, it simply puts foreign-doctor medical missions, or the doctors themselves, under PRC (professional regulatory commission) control. However, the net effect is to set up fees, fines, and new criminal and civil penalties. In this sense, it sure seems to be harmful to the Philippines.

2.  On the other hand, most medical missions done in the Philippines are done through church groups or barangays and so don’t tend to follow Philippine Law anyway. Of course, theoretically, the added teeth of the new law might squelch medical missions. Typically, Philippine Laws are so poorly enforced that it is not clear whether there will be a real change in the landscape of medical care in the Philippines. Time will tell.

3.  From a third perspective, there are lots of doctors and nurses in the Philippines, and many of them are ready to help out their kababayan (fellow countrymen). We don’t do medical missions very often anymore. But I have been directly or indirectly involved with dozens of medical missions. Of them, only a few had any foreign doctors involved in it. All of them had a majority of the medical staff being Filipino citizens licensed to work in the Philippines. Medicine is also pretty available in the Philippines and a lot cheaper than in the US (for example), so shipping of medicine into the Philippines isn’t all that necessary. Financial support for medical missions is the major lacking in the Philippines (with the exception of some specialists, like facial reconstruction).

4.  From a fourth perspective, I have written before about the problems with medical missions. They typically have little long-term benefit for health. They may actually encourage a lack of health infrastructure in the Philippines. There are other problems as well. Having laws that promote solutions from within may not be such a bad idea.

Anyway, you can click below for an article on this topic.


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