Biotech Updates

Philippine Government Continues Capacity Enhancement Training for Regulators

May 12, 2021

ISAAA partnered with the Philippine Department of Agriculture Biotech Program Office (DA-BPO) to conduct the Level 1C of the track-specific ladderized training program under the Progressive Manpower Enhancement Program (PMEP). The online workshop intended to help Philippine regulators understand how crop and animal biotech products in the Philippines are developed while complying with the prescribed regulatory and biosafety guidelines of the country.

The activity was hosted by ISAAA SEAsiaCenter on May 6-7, 2021, and was attended by at least 19 representatives from five different government agencies comprising of the Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Health, Department of Science and Technology and the Department of Interior and Local Government who are tasked to regulate the research, development. and commercialization of biotech products in the Philippines. The two-day workshop included virtual lectures from technology developers the Bt Eggplant and Golden Rice and a seasoned scientist from the Philippine Carabao Center. All of them shared their experiences in developing genetically modified (GM) plants and animals, and the special facilities and safety assessments they put up and implemented to comply with existing biosafety regulations. These discussions were complemented by video presentations about how GM crops are developed and existing biosafety facilities in the country, and a run-through of the draft guidelines on Philippine regulatory guidelines on animal biotechnology development. To cap off the workshop, ISAAA Program Associate Ms. Kristine Grace Tome shared with the participants the importance of understanding social media platforms to communicate agri-biotechnology, which will be useful for the regulators when engaging with the public in every step of the research, development, and commercialization of GM products.

The PMEP Level 1C is part of the initiative by the DA to train both the current and younger generations of regulators to make them aware of the developments of biosafety regulations not just in the Philippines but in the global scenario. The first two PMEP training sessions were done in a face-to-face setting prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the next online training, which will focus on science communication, will be held in mid-2021.

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