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Crop Biotech Update

Provincial Government in the Philippines Approves Bt Eggplant Field Trial

May 27, 2011

In a resolution passed last May 19, 2011, the provincial council of North Cotabato finally endorsed the conduct of a field trial for the fruit and shoot borer resistant (FSBR) – resistant Bt eggplant in the University of Southern Mindanao (USM), Kabacan, North Cotobato, Philippines. The council resolved its decision after several months of deliberation and public consultations.

Board Member Vicente Sorupia, Jr. said that the proponents have complied with all the requirements set by the Bureau of Plant Industry and the decision of Kabacan municipal council to go ahead with the field trial should be respected since Kabacan is the host community and the subject of the Prior Informed Consent Doctrine. North Cotabato Vice Governor Gregorio Ipong said that the decision on whether or not to push through with the trials now lies with the proponents.

In a statement, the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) in USM wrote that the endorsement proves that the local officials are "open to new knowledge, new technologies, and useful cultural shifts; that they know how to strike a balance between facts and myths; discern what is logical, vital, critical and beneficial; and weigh the merits and demerits of issues. Above all, they have allowed reason to prevail over emotions."

They also said that the council "acted on the issue objectively and mustered courage to take reasonable calculated risks in search for more truth without necessarily losing sight of the common good of the people…they exercised rational, critical and analytical thinking to generate sound judgment or decisions to unravel more science-based facts that shall eventually guide them in their future legislative actions and decisions."

For more updates on biotechnology in the Philippines, visit http://www.bic.searca.org or email bic@agri.searca.org