As a public service university and the Philippines’ premier learning institution in agriculture, biotechnology and the environment, the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) will appeal its case to the Supreme Court (SC) following the Court of Appeals’ (CA) decision to stop the field trials of Bt eggplant or Bt talong in the country.
UPLB stands by its previous statement that the field trials were responsibly and safely undertaken together with scientific organizations and partner state universities in compliance with the biosafety requirements and guidelines approved by the National Committee on Biosafety of the Philippines (NCBP) and the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) of the Department of Agriculture.
UPLB hopes that the Supreme Court will have better appreciation of the scientific evidences on the safety of the field trials which were designed in conformity with internationally accepted standards. The University believes that in evaluating the arguments, proper attention should be directed to the details of the experiments that will clearly show that the health and environmental concerns were properly addressed in the design and implementation of these activities and thus there is no compelling reason to stop further field trials.
The University has always been and will always uphold the safe and responsible use of modern biotechnology for the attainment of food security and a sustainable and safe environment. UPLB reiterates that ecological balance and environmental safety are non-negotiable core values of the university in the conduct of research. The already-concluded Bt talong field trials had been safely conducted and generated scientific data that are very valuable in the further development of this technology. The research on Bt talong is one of the priority projects of UPLB and a milestone in the University R&D history.
As a pioneer in agri-biotechnology research and development in the country through the establishment of the Institute of Plant Breeding (IPB) and the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (BIOTECH), UPLB maintains that high scientific standards should prevail in scientific researches. Globally, thousands of empirical research studies about the safety of genetically modified crops expressing the Bt gene, which is the same technology used in Bt talong, have been conducted and published. Esteemed local and international scientists, experts, and researchers, who are the most authoritative on this subject, are the research implementers and proponents of the Bt talong project. UPLB believes that environmental and human safety issues are properly managed in this academic and potentially beneficial biotech research.
UPLB, together with the scientific community, will continue its quest for academic freedom. The University will unceasingly strive for our technologies to reach the intended users primarily the Filipino farmers and consumers.