Biotech Updates

PH Nat’l Biotech Week Webinar Highlights More Filipino Biotech Innovations

November 9, 2022

The second episode of ISAAA Inc.'s Know the Science Webinar Series featured more biotech products in the pipeline to inform the public and members of the media about the latest developments in Philippine agricultural biotechnology. The webinar featured the Bt cotton of the Philippine Fiber Development Authority (PhilFIDA), the Bt eggplant of the University of the Philippines Los Banos (UPLB), and the various gene-edited products being developed by different research institutes in the country.

The webinar opened with the welcome remarks from Dr. Claro Mingala, Director of the Philippine Agriculture and Fisheries Biotechnology Program (DA Biotech Program). He talked about the progress of the country's biosafety framework, citing the revised regulations for crops that is more considerate for genome edited products and the development of animal biotechnology regulations that is expected to be signed and implemented soon. Both are said to be encouraging more biotechnology innovations from Filipino scientists.

Dr. Edison Rinen, Bt Cotton Project Leader and the National Coordinator of the Cotton Development Project, talked about how the Bt cotton was developed, the trials that have been completed, and the next R&D activities that the product will still need to undergo until it reaches its final step towards commercialization. He also talked about the socio-economic impact of Bt cotton noting the increase of harvestable bolls retained by the Bt cotton while reducing the use of pesticides against the insect pest. An interview among farmers also documented their positive perception towards the product citing higher yield, increase in income, and improved safety for human health and the environment.

Dr. Abraham J. Manalo, Associate Professor at the National College on Public Administration and Governance of the University of the Philippines Diliman, followed the first presentation by providing an overview of the latest developments on the Bt eggplant which received its approval for commercial cultivation on October 18, 2022. He also identified the gene-edited crops being developed by the Philippine Rice Research Institute, the International Rice Research Institute, and the Institute of Plant Breeding at UPLB, which involve rice, corn, and tomato.

The activity concluded with the closing remarks by ISAAA Inc. Executive Director Dr. Rhodora Romero-Aldemita. It was moderated by Zabrina J. Bugnosen of ISAAA Inc.

The webinar series aimed to inform the general public and the journalists about the recent developments on genetically modified crops that are commercialized and nearing commercialization in the Philippines. The event also encouraged the participants to engage in discussions related to biotech crops in the country, and build up the involvement of media in biotech reporting in preparation for the National Biotechnolgy Week on November 21-26, 2022 in Manila, Philippines.

Watch the webinar on the ISAAA website.

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