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6-Regulation: Monsanto backs Philippine approach to commercialization of GE plants



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TITLE:  Monsanto backs strict RP rules on biotech products
SOURCE: The Philippine Star
        http://www.philstar.com/philstar/search_content.asp?article=85913
DATE:   July 19, 2002

------------------ archive: http://www.gene.ch/genet.html ------------------


Monsanto backs strict RP rules on biotech products

Global agricultural research company Monsanto recently said it supports the 
Philippine government in its strict approach to the adoption and 
commercialization of plants and plant products that have undergone the 
biotechnology or genetic engineering process.

Monsanto government and public affairs director Noel Borlongan said the 
Philippines has one of the strictest regulations concerning biotech plants 
and genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Philippine laws do not allow the 
random entry or introduction of said products, especially those that 
pertain to the agriculture sector. An inter-agency body called the National 
Committee on Biosafety of the Philippines (NCBP) oversees and regulates 
research activities involving engineering or the introduction of related 
products.

Borlongan said the country’s strict regulations "ensure that genetically 
engineered products introduced into the Philippines adhere to the highest 
standards of safety, both for the benefit of people and environment".

He added that the meticulous process of field-testing required by the 
government "allows for prospective beneficiaries to thoroughly examine both 
the scientific and social issues involved".

Monsanto is currently working with the NCBP on the possible 
commercialization of a biotechnology-processed corn variety labeled 
worldwide as YieldGard. Borlongan said the variety has just recently been 
tested in various regions for their performance under wet and dry season 
conditions.

The variety is now currently widely used in the United States, Canada and 
Latin America.

Borlongan said initial farm test results showed that YieldGard is capable 
of producing up an average of 20-40 percent higher harvest levels than 
traditional corn varieties used in local farms. The higher yield comes with 
significantly reduced chemical insecticide application. The biotechnology 
process enabled YieldGard to acquire natural high resistance to the Asiatic 
Corn Borer, the worst plague in local corn farms.

Borlongan, however, pointed out that "Philippine regulations on biosafety 
are not so restrictive so as to remove incentives for continuing research."

The regulators scrutinize the research process but are also sensitive to 
the need to encourage the flourishing of appropriate biotechnology 
research, Borlongan added.

President Arroyo issued early this year a policy statement naming modern 
biotechnology as one of the anchors of her government’s program to achieve 
food sufficiency and food security.



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