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2-Plants: The Four Gene Giants are pushing for GMO approval in thePhilippines

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                                  PART I
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TITLE:  Four big biotech firms seek license for agri products
SOURCE: The Philippine Star, by Rocel C. Felix
DATE:   Jul 9, 2003

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Four big biotech firms seek license for agri products

Four big biotechnology firms - Monsanto Philippines Inc., Syngenta,
Pioneer Hybrid and Bayer Science Corp. are seeking licenses for the
commercial production of genetically modified soyabean, cotton, corn,
canola, potato and sugar beet seeds in the country.

Dr. Vicencio Mamaril, vice chairman of the biotechnology team of the
Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) said these companies' applications are
being carefully evaluated by the agency.

"We would have to carefully evaluate if these biotech seeds are safe for
human and animal consumption and is not harmful to the environment," said

The screening process will be similar to the exercise undertaken for
Monsanto's 1810, which is commonly known as the BT (Bacillus
Thuringiensis) corn seeds that was heavily criticized by environmentalists.

Despite protests moves by anti-biotechnology groups, however, the
Department of Agriculture (DA) subsequently issued a license allowing
Monsanto to commercially produce Bt corn.

For new applications, Mamaril said a group of independent scientists will
be hired by the government to do further evaluation.

This condition is part of new stringent measures on raw materials
containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs). These measures were
specified under the controversial Administrative Order No. 8 issued by
the DA last year.

In another development, local companies that use imported corn, soybean,
wheat, among others, as raw materials for the manufacture of products
either for food and feed will be required to secure permits from the BPI
and the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) before they could bring in their

Thus, companies involved in feed milling and processing such as San
Miguel Corp., General Milling Corp, RFM Swift Food will have to declare
to these agencies if their manufacturing inputs contain genetically
modified organisms (GMOs). These will then be evaluated by the DA.

Mamaril said that San Miguel Corp. and other members of the Philippine
Association of Feed Millers Inc. are requesting for an extension until
the end of the year as they expressed fears that the new stringent rule
may disrupt the local production and sale of feeds to the local market.

However, Agriculture Secretary Luis P. Lorenzo Jr. said the department is
no longer extending the deadline for these companies to comply with AO No. 8.

The Philippines is a big importer of corn and corn substitutes that
averages to 1.2 million metric tons a year.

At the same time that companies are required to declare their GMO inputs
for evaluation, foreign suppliers will also be required to do the same
before these are allowed entry into the country.

                                  PART II
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TITLE:  R.P. imposes stricter rules on GMOs
DATE:   Jul 3, 2003

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R.P. imposes stricter rules on GMOs

The Philippines has tightened rules on genetically modified organisms
(GMOs) by requiring importers to declare any shipments suspected of
containing GMOs, officials said on Thursday. The country, which
traditionally buys most of its corn and soybeans from the United States
for animal feed, imposed stricter guidelines on the import of GMOs to
ease fears of some environmentalists over the safety of such products.
"Starting July 1, importers have to declare that what they are shipping
in [to the country] may contain GMOs," said an official of the Bureau of
Plant Industry. The same official, who asked not to be identified, also
said importers could not bring in commodities if the technology used to
make the products had not been deemed safe by government scientists. The
Philippines, which has so far allowed the commercial planting of a gene-
altered corn made by U.S. firm Monsanto Co., has also begun assessing the
safety of a 17 other gene-altered plants and their products produced by
multinational firms. Monsanto and three other biotechnology firms have
submitted for approval the import of gene-altered commodities such as
corn, soybeans, canola, potato, sugar beet and cotton. Filipino
feedmillers expressed fear that the new guidelines might affect trade
because the rules have not been properly explained. "We are not against
the procedure, we are only seeking clarification of the procedures," Ric
Pinca, vice president at the Philippine Association of Feedmillers Inc.
told Reuters. "How will this be treated by customs? Will we be allowed to
unload the commodity if it comes in? Do they have the equipment to test?
There are many matters to be clarified." The Philippines imports about
one million tons of soymeal each year, 300,000 to 400,000 tons of
soybeans and at least 200,000 tons of corn mostly from the United States,
one of the world's largest producers of genetically modified crops.


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