The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) recently issued an important and relevant document on the lamentable increasing sales of human organs in the country—with all the standard features of business, with all the common elements of trade and industry. This shameful phenomenon is not really new in the land. But it has become more common and open, more in frequency and number.
But the victims and beneficiaries are the same, viz., the poor Filipinos and the wealthy foreigners as well as influential citizens of this country. And the human organs which are made the objects of buy and sale remain also the same, i.e., kidneys. It is not altogether improbable that the following human parts could eventually also become trade and industry items: hands and legs, eyes and ears—and other pairings in the human body.
The thriving business or organ sale in the Philippines comes complete with middlemen, i.e., go-betweens, the perceived seller and determined buyer, and making much money with the consummation of the deals. The same commercial venture has adopted misleading labels such as “Cosmetic Surgery, “Medical Tourism” and the like. The market of human organs is becoming more intense and extensive as the ruling stability of “economic fundamentals”, and many other rosy market readings and nice sounding industrial projections or glowing economic predictions.
Never mind the living reality of poverty and hunger in the ground which precisely serve as a root cause of organ sales by those Filipinos living in slum areas, under the bridges, in shanties that have recently become favorite targets of merciless demolitions—with the inhabitants thereof usually left in the streets, holding on to their miserable belongings. The same goes with small market vendors whose little goods are even forcibly taken away from them. This does not in any way mean that law and order are both already impractical and irrelevant. This is but a reminder that it is the poor that need more societal attention, that it is the already helpless that should not be made more miserable.
There is a whale of moral difference between organ donation and organ sale. The CBCP noted this very well. The former is a demonstration of edifying love of neighbor in irremediable need of organ transplant to somehow prolong lives and be thus continue to become beneficial members of society. The very word and reality of “donation” clearly means the presence of precious generosity and care, and the absence of trade concern and commercial interest.
The CBCP wherefore asks—begs even—the public authority concerned to please carefully and rightfully regulate the program in gathering and distributing donated human organs, wherefore raising its admitted feeble voice against organ trafficking.
4 February 2008