The Law and the TRO

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Four years ago, a law was enacted phasing out blood banks and promoting voluntary blood donation through bloodletting center all over the country. It was called the National Blood Services Act of 1994. After a series of extensions, the law was approved for implementation in May this year and the DOH immediately ordered blood retailers to close shop on May 28.

With the impending closure on blood banks, the DOH assured the public that a blood services network, a linkage of blood services, facilities and hospitals, will be in place.

However, the Supreme Court issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) on the same day stopping the government from enforcing the total phase-out of commercial blood banks in the country. The TRO was issued after commercial blood bank filed a petition against a new law.

Blood bank operators claimed that patients who immediately needed transfusion were inquired by hospitals to bring blood to ensure a continuing blood supply. However, the DOH belied those reports and said that there was, in fact, an oversupply of blood in most government hospitals and that the Philippine National Red Cross chapters are all ready to serve those needing blood.

After the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the commercial blood banks, the DOH warned the public about the risk of getting infected blood from the blood market since its supply usually comes from people who made a living out of selling their blood.