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Death penalty bill ‘not scientifically rational’

/ 12:14 AM March 10, 2017

The Philippine chemistry community, represented by  the Philippine Federation of  Chemistry Societies (PFCS), strongly urges our legislators to use science in drafting laws.

House Bill No. 001, also referred to as the “Death Penalty Law,” aims to address the scourge of dangerous drugs in Philippine  society. While  we  recognize this important concern, we oppose the provisions that equate dangerous  drugs with precursor and essential chemicals. Because of their importance in industry, agriculture, health, education and  research, inclusion of these chemicals in the proposed law must be done with adequate scientific knowledge.

Please note the following important points:

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  1. The bill does not define and identify what are precursor chemicals and essential chemicals. Virtually all precursor chemicals and essential chemicals are multiuse chemicals. Precursor chemicals may be precursors to other important products, such as pharmaceuticals, fragrances, cosmetics, agrochemicals. Likewise, essential chemicals may also be used for many other purposes, including in the manufacture of household and health products. The cost of banning them would be staggering to the economy. The proposed bill is not scientifically rational.
  1. Mere possession of a precursor chemical or an essential chemical is not equivalent to possession or manufacture of dangerous drugs. The proposed bill will criminalize legitimate users, and raise the cost of goods and damage the economy. This will also provide many opportunities for corruption.
  1. The bill equates pure substances with mixtures. It does not distinguish a compound that is relatively pure from its 1-percent composition in an essential oil or spice. HB 001 will criminalize the possession of many medicinal plants and cooking ingredients.

This topic of precursor chemicals and essential chemicals should be discussed extensively together with experts in the field and with industry manufacturers. The PFCS is composed of four organizations: the Integrated Chemists of the Philippines, the Kapisanang Kimika ng Pilipinas, the Philippine Association of Chemistry Teachers, and the Philippine Association of Chemistry Students.

ARMANDO M. GUIDOTE JR., president, Philippine Federation of  Chemistry Societies; FABIAN M. DAYRIT, president, Integrated Chemists of the Philippines; NESTOR S. VALERA, Kapisanang Kimika ng Pilipinas; JOSE M. ANDAYA, president, Philippine Association of Chemistry Teachers; JOHN MICHAEL PORCA, president,  Philippine Association of Chemistry Students

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TAGS: capital punishment, death penalty, essential chemicals, Inquirer letters, Inquirer Opinion, precursor chemicals, science in legislation, war on drugs
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