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Crop Biotech Update

Scientists Speak up about Phil CA's Decision on Bt Eggplant Trials

June 13, 2013

Scientists from different institutions speak their opinions about the Philippine Court of Appeals order to permanently stop all field trials of Bt eggplant.

"The CA order was a perverse application of the Writ of Kalikasan which intent is to assure the Filipino people of balanced and healthful ecology because this was precisely what the Bt talong research was trying to accomplish," said Dr. Emil Q. Javier, former president of the University of the Philippines (UP) and the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST). "Contrary to what Greenpeace and GMO technology detractors claim, the UN World Health Organization, the US National Academy of Science, the British Royal Science Society and many other prestigious National Science Academies consider consuming foods from GM crops "no riskier" than consuming same foods from crops modified by conventional plant breeding techniques," he added.

Biotech Coalition of the Philippines President and Dean of the UP Manila College of Public Health, Dr. Nina Gloriani, also expressed her disappointment over the ruling: "confined field trials allow our scientists to better understand how biotech varieties grow in real-life conditions. Researchers have long taken government guidelines for confined field trials very seriously and have worked to minimize any risks to the environment and human and animal safety...Applicants who wish to conduct confined field trials have to follow strict guidelines and best industry stewardship practices. Our current biosafety laws already provide for a high standard of protection for the environment and human health, and a track record of more than a decade of field trials and commercialization of Bt corn."

In line with the CA's decision, the University of the Philippines Los BaƱos (UPLB), one of the respondents of the Writ of Kalikasan case, will file a Motion for Reconsideration. The university stands by its claim that the Bt eggplant trials were "responsibly and safely undertaken" in compliance with the biosafety requirements and guidelines approved by the National Committee on Biosafety of the Philippines (NCBP) and the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) of the Department of Agriculture.

For more information, contact bic@agri.searca.