Crop Biotech Update

4th Public Consultation Held for Revised GM Regulatory Guidelines in the Philippines

February 10, 2016

The National Committee on Biosafety of the Philippines (NCBP) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) organized a fourth Public Consultation for the crafting of the Joint Department Circular titled "Rules and Regulations for the Research and Development, Handling and Use, Transboundary Movement, Release into the Environment and Management of Plant and Plant Products Derived from the Use of Modern Biotechnology" on February 9, 2016 at the DA main office in Quezon City. The Government's Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Health, and the Department of the Interior and Local Government jointly crafted the new circular in line with the decision of the Supreme Court declaring null and void the previously used guidelines of the DA Administrative Order No. 8.

Chairman of the Technical Working Group for the Joint Department Circular Dr. Jaime Montoya said that they remain open to comments of all sectors, whatever their stand is on the content of the said guidelines. Meanwhile, Mr. Rod Bioco of the Philippine Maize Federation, Inc. expressed his request for the government to fast-track the passing of the Joint Department Circular so as to not disrupt the planting of biotech corn. "The next harvest is just around the corner. Our farmers are very happy with the benefits of this (GM) technology," he said.

Three other public consultations were also held in January 2016 for stakeholders in the different island groups in the country (Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao). The document is tentatively targeted to be signed by the Department Secretaries on February 23.

For more updates on biotech in the Philippines, visit SEARCA BIC's website. The draft Joint Department Circular is available for download at the NCBP's website.