22-September-2014 SEARCA BIC Media Release
Scientist-members of the National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines (NAST Philippines) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) recently held Biotechnology IEC Forums in the southern island group Mindanao last September 17 and 19, 2014. Discussed during the forums were modern biotechnology in general –its principles, applications, products, safety, and benefits. Participated in by agriculture officers, technicians, farmers, and other local government constituents from the cities of Davao and Butuan, these activities were part of NAST Philippines’ project Capability-Building and Sustainable Biotechnology Information, Education and Communication for DOST and LGU Key Personnel, which aims to create awareness and provide science-based information on modern biotechnologyto key personnel in various local government units and DOST regional office. Resource persons and experts were Dr. Antonio Laurena of the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), Dr. Emma Sales of the University of Southern Mindanao and NAST Biotech Focal Person for Region 12, and Dr. Marcos Valdez, Jr. of UP Cebu, for the Davao forum; and Dr. Prima Fe Franco of Maria Marcos State University and NAST Biotech Focal Person for Region 1, Dr. Roberta Garcia, Dr. Eureka Ocampo, both of UPLB, and Dr. Sales for the Butuan forum.
The scientists also discussed risk assessment studies for food and environmental safety of GMOs, as well as the national biosafety regulation policies in the country. They encouraged and called for the support of the upcoming local biotech crops, the UPLB-developed fruit and shoot borer resistant Bt eggplant, and the vitamin A-enriched Golden rice. They expressed that these biotech crops, as products of public research institutions, are important investments for the country’s agricultural development. They also said that biotechnology, through development of biotech crops, upholds farmers’ choice.
The activity was co-organized by the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture – Biotechnology Information Center (SEARCA BIC).