Just like any nation in the world, the Philippines has suffered from the impacts of the global pandemic. And with the country still grappling with the virus, both the government and the people remain open to other treatments other than the vaccines from global pharmaceutical companies.
One of the rising alternative "cures" in the country is a drug called Ivermectin, an anti-parasitic believed to be an "effective" treatment against COVID-19.
But even with the controversies and criticisms regarding the use of this drug against the coronavirus, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said that he would allow any doctors and citizens to "gamble" on Ivermectin's effectiveness.
"I leave it really to the doctor-patient relationship. If the doctor believes in good faith that it can help, and the patient also believes in his heart that he will get well, we leave it up to you to decide," Duterte said.
The country's Department of Health has continuously warned Filipinos about the risks involved in using Ivermectin as a treatment for the virus.
But despite repeated reminders, there are citizens who are still persuaded to use it as a preventive measure or a solution against the disease.
One of the major reasons why Duterte is not critical of the anti-parasitic drug is because of the testimonials about its use.
He said that there is a high chance that the drug is indeed effective in combating the virus, and it would not be right to prevent citizens from using it. But he conceded that taking the drug to fight COVID-19 remains a big gamble.
The Ivermectin products registered in the Philippines can only be used for certain animal species to treat internal and external parasites, including the prevention of heartworm disease.
The country's Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has allowed the compassionate use of the drug for patients who are sick with the virus.
Meanwhile, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) will begin clinical trials (which are planned to run for eight months) on October 15 to test the drug's safety and effectiveness in contaning COVID-19.
Even with his openness with the Ivermectin drug, Duterte highlights that there is still no scientific proof which proves that it can really treat the disease.