As part of the continuing initiatives in strengthening public awareness on the benefits of modern biotechnology and the safety assessment of its products, the DOST Biosafety Committee Secretariat participated as resource speaker on the 4th Leg of the Biotechnology 101 and Joint Department Circular (JDC) Public Briefing last April 4 in Cebu City.
The event is a continuing effort aimed to increase the level of awareness of members of the local government units, researchers, students and farmer groups about the science and current research trends on modern biotechnology; as well as the biosafety regulatory systems that govern these technologies. Ms. Estacio, together with Ms. Ma. Lorelie U. Agbagala, Agricultural Center Chief II of the DA- Bureau of Plant Industry, discussed the key features of the JDC on the regulation of plants and plant products derived from modern biotechnology, pursuant to the mandate of the Competent National Authorities.
The key features of the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, updates on the country’s compliance as party to the protocol, the tools made available for public participation and awareness, the BCH and its features, including the learning modules were likewise presented.
The participants were interested on the benefits of modern biotechnology to their farms, and how to avail GM seeds to increase their yield. The participants also asked how the new JDC will affect research projects on GMOs being developed by the public research institutions. They were assured that the JDC shall be true to its mandate of facilitating technology transfer while ensuring that safety assessments are done and meaningful public participation are provided to its stakeholders.
The public briefing was a collaborative undertaking by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA), Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture—Biotechnology Information Center (SEARCA-BIC), and the Department of Agriculture and Public research Institutions. The next leg of the activity will be held in Davao City in August.