Mindanao farmers and local agri officials updated on latest biosafety guidelines

Representatives from the five government agencies serve as panelists for the JDC during the open forum.
Representatives from the five government agencies serve as panelists for the JDC during the open forum.

Filipino farmers, local government constituents, and students and faculty from General Santos City and surrounding municipalities in the southern island group of Mindanao in the Philippines took part in the third leg of the series of public briefings on the Joint Department Circular No. 1 (or “Rules and Regulations for the Research and Development, Handling and Use, Transboundary Movement, Release into the Environment, and Management of Genetically-Modified Plant and Plant Products Derived from the Use of Modern Biotechnology”) and symposia on agricultural modernization. The activity, held on 12 October 2016 in General Santos City, familiarized the stakeholders with the new guidelines which were approved by five government agencies namely the Departments of Agriculture, Science and Technology, Health, Environment and Natural Resources, and the Interior and Local Government. It also briefed them on the science, environmental and food safety, and potential socio-economic benefits of modern biotechnology in the Philippines, and introduced the concept of agricultural modernization. Speakers include Dr. Rhodora Aldemita of ISAAA, biotech corn farmer-leader Edwin Paraluman, and president of the Coalition for Agricultural Modernization in the Philippines (CAMP) Dr. Benigno Peczon. Representatives from the five government departments also served as panelists during the open forum where participants clarified their concerns towards the new guidelines.
The activity was organized by the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture – Biotechnology Information Center (SEARCA BIC), ISAAA, and CAMP, in collaboration with Mindanao State University. (Maria Monina Cecilia A. Villena and Sophia M. Mercado)

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