Since the DA-DENR-DILG-DOH-DOST Joint Department Circular governing plants and plant products derived from the use of modern biotechnology took effect last April 16, 2016, the Department of Agriculture Biotech Program Office (DA-BPO) has been incessantly conducting activities in collaboration with other institutions to strengthen the capacity and participation of the five government departments involved in the biosafety regulation of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).
Last April 17-21, DA-BPO conducted a Biotechnology Training Course on Basic Biotechnology Tools for Crop/Animal Improvement in the Philippine Rice Research Institute at Maligaya, Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija.
With speakers from the academe and public research institutions, the week-long training focused on explaining the technical and scientific concepts of modern biotechnology and domestic and international instruments used as basis for safety assessment of GMOs. The course aimed to enhance the understanding of participants on the application of modern biotechnology tools, the Philippine biotechnology regulatory system, and research and development activities on GM crops being carried out by the public research institutions and provide sources of information that can be referenced in carrying out risk assessment. The participants were comprised of regulatory officers from the five departments involved in the implementation of the JDC.
The Philippines is the first country in Asia to establish a biosafety regulatory system for GMOs and also the first to commercialize agribiotech crop - Bt corn.