Philippines: bishops condemn trade in human organs

 The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) yesterday described as "morally unacceptable" the sale and trade of human organs as it violates the dignity of a human person. "Human organ sale or trade, by its very nature, is morally unacceptable. It is contrary to the dignity of the human person, his authentic autonomy and the essential equality of all persons," Malolos Bishop Jose Oliveros said reading the CBCP statement on "Organ Donation against Organ Sale." "The dignity of the human person as the image of God includes not only his or her soul, but his corporal being. Hence, our body ought not to be treated as a commodity or object of commerce, which would amount to the dispossession or plundering of the human body," the prelate said. The head of the CBCP's Episcopal Commission on Bioethics said although human organ transplantation gives new hope, particularly to patients with end stage diseases, to recover and regain an acceptable and decent lifestyle, such an act, however, can be abused and exploited usually at the expense of the economically poor. "We understand the poor, who should not be blamed. There are other ways to help them but not through organ sale. They are human beings and cannot be treated as commodities. We encourage voluntary organ donation from cadavers and also from living donors. We condemn any form of organ sale and organ trade," said Oliveros. The CBCP is, hence, urging the government to continue its program towards holistic gathering and distribution of donated organs as it also raised its voice against those involved in organ trafficking. The group also urged a stricter law against those involved in the commercialization or selling of organs, and that this be implemented without discrimination. "A just allocation of the scarce organ donor should be safeguarded. Scarce organ donors should be made available first to the local recipients. A strict limit on allocation should be set for foreign recipients," Oliveros said. "We call for the education of our people especially with regard to organ donation. The physician or medical professional has the sublime duty to supply the possible candidates for organ donation with all the necessary information to help them make an informed consent," the bishop added.

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