6-Regulation: Monsanto backs Philippine approach to commercialization of GE plants
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-------------------------------- GENET-news --------------------------------
TITLE: Monsanto backs strict RP rules on biotech products
SOURCE: The Philippine Star
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
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
The variety is now currently widely used in the United States, Canada and
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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