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Biotech coalition is 10 years old

Biotech coalition is 10 years old

THE Biotechnology Coalition of the Philippines (BCP) has reaffirmed its commitment to push for the adoption of biotech crops that are healthy, risk-free and friendly to the environment.

The BCP issued this declaration as it celebrated its 10th year by holding a convention last May 17-18 at the Traders Hotel in Manila.
Agham Rep. Angelo Palmones keynoted the convention, which had as its theme “Biotech for All Seasons and for All Reasons.”
Dr. Rhodora R. Aldemita, BCP vice president, acted as master of ceremonies during the convention.

The BCP has been pushing for the development of local (“Pinoy”) genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) like papaya with ring-spot virus resistance and longer shelf life, Bacillus thuringinesis (Bt) eggplant resistant to fruit-and-shoot borers, and Golden Rice which addresses Vitamin A deficiency among hundreds of thousands of nursing mothers and children.

The paper of Agriculture Undersecretary Segfredo Serrano on the government’s biotechnology program was read by Dr. Candida Adalla, head of the Biotechnology Program Office of the Department of Agriculture (DA-BPO).

BCP President Dr. Nina Gloriani also addressed the participants about why biotech is more for fun and how it would eventually buttress the country’s food security in spite of criticisms hurled by parties virulently opposed to GM crops and agricultural biotechnology in general.

She also moderated the session on biotechnology’s impact on health and wellness, with Dr. Catherine Lynn Silao discussing “Genetic Counseling in the Era of Personalized Medicine.”

Dr. Carmencita David-Padilla lectured on “Expanded Newborn Screening” among Filipino newborns while Dr. Rainier B. Villanueva discussed the “Benefits of Natural Ingredients.”

Dr. Ker Yin Lee tackled “China’s Biopharmaceutical Development.”

During the session on “Biotech for Fun and Profit,” Dr. Priscilla C. Sanchez lectured on the “Influence of Yeast Strains in Producing Quality Tropical Fruit Wines,” revealing how these wines could earn in the domestic as well as foreign markets.

Dr. Susana Maldo Mercado spoke on “Biotech Microbial Rennet for Cheese Making” which developed a cheaper alternative for the imported rennet now used by manufacturers of cheese.

Maria Alma A. Laurena focused on “Home-Made Soymilk from Biotech Soybean: Business and Wellness” while Dr. Minerva S. D. Olympia and Dr. Erlinda B. Panggat discussed “Nata and Nata-Producing Microorganisms from Seaweed.”

The third plenary session was devoted to “Crop Biotechnology: Sustainability and Climate,” with Prof. Peter J. Davies lecturing. Davies is a Jefferson Science Fellow of the Office of Agriculture and Biotechnology of the US Department of Agriculture.

The fourth session on May 19 covered social issues and concerns, with Dr. Emelea Cao moderating.

Dr. Maria Corazon A. de Ungria discussed “Disaster Victim Identification at Ground Zero,” Dr. Maria Auxilia T. Siringan tackled “Biotechnology vs. Bioterrorism,” and Dr. Martha Koukidou lectured on “RIDL Technology for Insect and Disease Control.”

The fifth session centered on Pinoy GMOs, with Dr. Aldemita moderating.
(Biolife News Service)

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