Crop Biotech Update

National Committee on Biosafety of the Philippines Celebrates 25th Anniversary

October 28, 2015

The  National Committee on Biosafety of the Philippines celebrated its 25th founding anniversary, with the theme "Celebrating 25 years of Biosafety in the Philippines Looking Back…Moving Forward" at the Chardonnay by Astoria in Pasig City, Philippines on October 27, 2015. The event was attended by more than 120 representatives of the NCBP partner government departments, scientists, academe, research agencies and institutions, media and private industry.

Dr. Jaime Montoya, Chairman of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Biosafety Committee, opened the program with his recollection of their experiences in regulating products of modern biotechnology and how these experiences will steer the NCBP in the right direction moving forward. DOST Secretary and NCBP Chairman Hon. Mario G. Montejo, recalled how the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) and the Department of Agriculture were instrumental in the establishment of NCBP. He also declared the 25 years of regulatory work on modern biotechnology as an achievement and that the committee has overcome challenges through the years. He also thanked the member departments and scientists that have helped guide the committee to carry out its mandate.

Atty. Jose Mari A. Ochave, the Legal Adviser of the DOST Biosafety Committee, presented the 25 year history of NCBP, and recognized the people who have made an impact within the committee. He also presented possible improvements for the future of the committee as well as that of GM regulation in the Philippines. Recognition to individuals who have been instrumental in the establishment of biosafety in the Philippines were given service awards including National Scientists Dr. Dolores Ramirez, for her contributions in the formulation of the country's biosafety protocols and procedures and Dr. Ricardo Lantican, for his support of the committee and his capacity as the first NCBP Chairperson, as well as former Academician Dr. Estrella Alabastro, for spearheading the establishment of the NCBP during her helm as DOST Secretary.

Representatives of each member department, including that on health, environment and natural resources, trade and industry, interior and local government, and foreign affairs signed a Renewal of Commitment to NCBP. It symbolized inter-agency commitment to a science-based biosafety framework.  Presentations from experts as well as discussions on the GM regulations, new plant breeding techniques  socio-economic impacts of a country's adoption of GMOs were also conducted during the event.

For details of the event contact knowledge.center@isaaa.org.