Official Statement of the Philippine Federation of Chemistry Societies on the Death Penalty Bill and the inclusion of precursor and essential chemicals

February 28, 2017
The Philippine Chemistry Community Strongly Urges our Legislators to Use Science in Drafting Laws:
The Death Penalty Bill and the Inclusion of Precursor and Essential Chemicals

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 001, otherwise known 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 themselves with precursor and essential chemicals.  Because their importance in industry, agriculture, health, education, and research, inclusion of these chemicals must be done with adequate scientific knowledge.
We wish to note the following important points:
1.      The bill does not define and identify what are precursor chemicals and essential chemicals. Virtually all precursor chemicals and essential chemicals are multi-use chemicals.  Precursor chemicals may also be precursors to other important products, such as pharmaceuticals, fragrances, cosmetics, agro-chemicals, and others. Likewise, essential chemicals may also be essential for many other purposes, including household and health uses. The cost to the economy can be staggering. The proposed bill is not scientifically rational.
2.      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.
3.      The bill equates pure substances with mixtures. It does not distinguish a compound that is relatively pure with its presence in an essential oil or spice at 1% composition. It will criminalize 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 (ICP), Kapisanang Kimika ng Pilipinas (KKP), Philippine Association of Chemistry Teachers (PACT) and Philippine Association of Chemistry Students (PACS).
Armando M. Guidote Jr., Ph.D.
President, PFCS
Fabian M. Dayrit, Ph.D.                                                                    Nestor S. Valera, Ph.D.
President, ICP                                                                                    President, KKP
Jose M. Andaya, Ph.D.                                                                       John Michael Porca
President, PACT                                                                                  President, PACS