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PhilippinesPhilippines - Strengthening Capacity for Biosafety of Risk Assessors
An empowerment of the country’s risk assessors in promoting an efficient and predictable biosafety regulatory system took place at the Acacia Hotel, Alabang, last June 3-7 2019. The activity is a continuing program on capacity building of those involved in the decision-making process on the utilization and management of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).
The International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA), as part of their mission to share the benefits of biotechnology to various stakeholders, through global sharing of knowledge and support to technology development, organized the activity, in partnership with the National Committee on Biosafety of the Philippines (NCBP) and the Department of Agriculture (DA). The activity aims to enhance the knowledge and skills, particularly of the new set of risk assessors involved in the decision-making process in the conduct of risk assessment and risk management of GMOs given the fast-paced development and deployment of the  products of modern biotechnology.
Risk Assessors from the Competent National Authorities (CNAs) and Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), as well as representatives from public research institutions, were gathered to listen and participate in the discussions with the invited international biosafety experts, specifically on the issues and concerns governing the technology.
The program was brimming with appreciable activities from the presentations and discussions of relevant information on the best practices on environmental and safety assessment of GM crops, internationally accepted standards and Protocols, tools for information sharing, processes in ensuring the safe and responsible use of the technology, current global adoption of GM crops, laboratory demos and trade issues. Visit to GM research facilities was likewise carried out on the first day where participants were shown state of the art facilities where research and development of GM crops are being carried out.
The products of modern biotechnology, if regulated effectively, holds a promise as one of the tools to address food security. The Philippines, being one of the countries that ensure effective implementation of biosafety policies, coupled with continuing program for capacity enhancement for regulators surely gears to a promising future.

Julieta Fe L, Estacio
PDOIV, Department of Science and Technology
and Head Secretariat, National Committee on Biosafety of the Philippines/DOST Biosafety Committee
National Focal Point, BCH