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Monsanto seeks clarity on Philippines’ GMO rulesqrcode

Nov. 27, 2017

Favorites Print Nov. 27, 2017
Agricultural biotechnology firm Monsanto Co. is still waiting to see how the country’s rules on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) can affect its applications for new biotechnology products.

“Previously, I think [the application process] takes like two to three years for one trait. It was more like the mainstream… close to US,” Yong Gao, director of Monsanto’s Corporate Engagement in Asia and Africa, told reporters in Pasay City on Thursday.

“With this new change. We don’t know yet,” said Mr. Gao, referring to the joint department circular (JDC) approved last year. The JDC No. 1 Series of 2016 sets new guidelines for the application of genetically modified products whether for field-testing, importation, or commercial use.

The application processes previously involved only the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Science and Technology, but the JDC No. 1 included the Departments of Environment and Natural Resources, of Health, and of Interior and Local Government.

The new guidelines superseded the DA’s Administrative Order No. 8 issued in 2002 as the governing policy on biotechnology crops after the Supreme Court nullified the latter in December 2015.

The cancellation was based on the ground that AO No. 8 failed to put adequate safety standards set by Executive Order 514 that established the National Biosafety Framework.

Charina G. Ocampo, Monsanto’s corporate engagement lead, revealed the firm did go through a waiting period for the approval of the renewal of its MON89304 and NK603 seed event last year. The term event is used to refer to the differentiation of genetically engineered crop varieties.

“We had to deal with the new set of protocols. It took time for the other government offices to develop their own set of protocols. So nag-stockpile talaga. But it’s functioning now,” said Ms. Ocampo yesterday.

All applications for the importation and commercial use of biotechnology-engineered corn traits under the JDC are for renewals as the validity of their use were due to expire under the previous regulatory guidelines laid out in AO No. 8.

As such, the industry has yet to see how long a new event that will be introduced to the Philippines may take under the new rules.

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