Legislative officials apprised on Philippine biosafety regulations

National

More than 100 legislative officials from the House of Representatives and selected members of the Philippine Judicial Academy (PHILJA) were apprised on the Philippine regulatory system for genetically modified crops in a briefing held at the House of Representatives last February 27.

 In the latest briefing, the legislative officials were given thorough information on The Philippine Regulatory System for Genetically Modified Crops: DOST-DA-DENR-DOH-DILG Joint Department Circular (JDC) No. 1, series of 2016.

Representatives from the Departments of Agriculture (DA), Health (DOH), Science and Technology (DOST), Interior and Local Government (DILG), and Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) explained to the participants the new regulatory guidelines on biotech crops.

 They also provided factual and science-based information pertaining to the science as well as the environmental and food safety of biotech products.

Expressing his support, Rep. Erico Aristotle Aumentado, Chairman of the House Committee on Science and Technology (S&T), stressed that legislation should be more empirical and scientific. Mr. Donald Caballero, Secretary of the Committee on S&T, read Rep. Aumentado’s message on his behalf.  

 Aumentado also noted that the activity is an innovation towards the realization of Research for Development (R4D), which will strengthen the role of science and basic research in creating meaningful governance through policy-making and legislation.

Meanwhile, Ms. Annalyn Lopez, Director-Coordinator of the Department of Agriculture-Biotechnology Program Office (DA-BPO), noted that though some find the current regulatory requirements to be a hurdle, science has enabled the evolution of regulatory approaches and it can be used to improve the effectiveness and agility of the country’s regulatory system.  

The briefing was organized by the DA-BPO, the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) Biotechnology Information Center (BIC), and the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA). It was the tenth in the series of Joint Department Circular public briefings held nationwide by the DA-BPO, SEARCA, and ISAAA since 2015.

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