CEBU, Philippines — Among the member countries of the
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Philippines
is the most advanced in implementing safety regulations for
genetically modified (GM) crops, experts said here.
“Pinaka-advance tayo kasi we were able to commercialize
GM products such as Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) corn and
herbicide-resistant corn. [We are the most advanced because
we were able to commercialize genetically modified products
such as Bt corn and herbicide-resistant corn.],” said
Reynaldo Ebora, executive director of the Philippine Council
for Advance Science and Technology Research and Development
(PCASTRD) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).
In contrast, LAO PDR and Myanmar are still in the initial
stages of developing biosafety policies.
Biosafety laws in Cambodia and Malaysia were approved in
January 2008 and July 2007, respectively. Meanwhile, Indonesia,
Thailand and Vietnam that have existing regulations are conducting
field trials, said Ebora during a symposium on Biotechnology
and Nutritionally Enhanced Food and Crops here in Cebu.
Ebora pointed out that market acceptance of GM crops is
not a problem in the Philippines.
Kasi ang mga farmer, mas gusto nila dahil mas mataas ang
yield. Sa general public, it seems na mataas ang public acceptance.
Kasi kung hindi mataas ang public acceptance, kakaunti sana
ung bibili ng seeds na itatanim.Ang problema ngaun, kulang
ung seeds na itatanim. [The farmers wanted Bt corn because
it has higher yield. It also seems that the public acceptance
is high. If the public acceptance is not high, then only
few would buy seeds for planting. But the problem now is
that there are few seeds.],” Ebora said.
Safety regulations GM crops can bring back trust in them,
added Dr. Junshi Chen of the Chinese Center for Disease Control.
“The Chinese government has decided to give a larger
amount of financial investment to further study new GMOs
for the Chinese population. It is serious on safety evaluation
and safety assessment of new products,” Chen said.