Crop Biotech Update

Philippines Celebrates 10 Yrs of Successful Biotech Regulatory Policy Implementation

April 4, 2012

Ten years after the Department of Agriculture Administrative Order No. 8 (DA AO 8) was issued in 2002, the Philippine agriculture and economy is continuously benefitting from the commercialization and industrial use of biotech crops. The decade of effective implementation of DA AO 8 was commemorated last April 3-4, 2012 at Diamond Hotel in Pasay City.

DA AO 8 stipulates the rules and regulations for the importation and release into the environment of plants and plant products derived from the use of modern biotechnology.

In his message, DA Secretary Proceso Alcala acknowledged and lauded the economic and environmental benefits brought by biotech corn in its almost 10 years of commercialization in the country. He said that the corn industry would not have the additional eight billion peso profit in the corn sector without biotech corn and that about 400,000 Filipino corn farmers have benefitted from this technology. The secretary also reiterated that biosafety regulation in the country is based on international standards.

Dr. Candida Adalla, Chair of the DA Biotechnology Program Office, said that because of the consistent biotech policies implemented in the country, agriculture is continuously growing with significant contributions from biotech crops. She also presented the status of upcoming public sector biotech crops in the Philippines. Among the most advanced are the fruit and shoot borer Bt eggplant, the papaya ringspot virus (PRSV) resistant and delayed ripening papaya, and the vitamin A-enriched Golden Rice. Bt eggplant and Golden Rice are currently under multi-location field trials in different areas in the country while the biotech papaya is being planned for an open field trial.

Government agency officials and scientists, and constituents from research institutions, private sector, and international organizations attended the event. The first day tackled new biotech crop developments from both public and private sectors, while the second day focused on Insect Resistance Management. Key people who were instrumental in the passing and implementation of DA AO 8 were also recognized.

For more information about biotech crop developments in the Philippines, visit http://www.bic.searca.org or e-mail bic@agri.searca.org.