Asian Bioethics: A Philippine View

- Angeles T. Alora, M.D., Director

SouthEast Asian Center for Bioethics Rm.226 St. Martin de Porres Bldg. University of San Tomas, Espana, Manila The Philippines

Eubios Journal of Asian and International Bioethics 5 (1995), 3.

Based on our experience, we think Western Bioethics is difficult if not impossible to adopt in the East. Since 1987 the Southeast Asian Center for Bioethics in Manila has tried to do it. Mainly because available literature and resources were Western, we tried to apply and teach their guiding principles. We are grateful for the generous help by the Bioethics Study Group of the International Federation of Catholic Universities and particularly Dr. Tristram Engelhardt of the Baylor College of Medicine who nurtured and cared for us through the years. It was also Dr. Engelhardt who prodded us to look deeply into ourselves and determine which of what they taught was acceptable and which had to be modified in our culture.

Some specific concepts clearly needed modification. Our close family ties meant telling the truth not to the patient alone but also to members of his family [See results of International Bioethics Survey questions on privacy]. The importance of smooth interpersonal relationship often took priority over individual personal autonomy.

We fully agree with Prof. Sakamoto and Leavitt. We are here to learn our own Southeast Asian Bioethics. There can be "enlightened tribalism" and we must "build it ourselves". The Eubios Ethics Institute is an essential step towards this. We look forward to working together.

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