• Govt to issue new GMO guidelines soon

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    THE government is signing the new guidelines allowing the continued applications for field testing, propagating, and importing genetically modified organisms (GMO) soon.

    Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala told The Manila Times that Cabinet secretaries from the Science and Technology, Environment and Natural Resources, Health and Agriculture departments could approve the new rules by February 15.

    “The multi-agency technical working group (TWG) is just finalizing and reviewing the scientific and technical work program that would strengthen the policy and implementation framework that would allow the continued application of GMOs in the Philippines,” Alcala said.

    Included are stakeholder inputs to harmonize the rules and regulations of Administrative Order 8-2002, which the Supreme Court declared null and void last December for failing to meet requirements under the National Biosafety Framework.

    It also ordered the government to prepare an immediate plan of action to rehabilitate field
    trial sites, protect the environment, and recommend reform policies and measures.

    The ban was expected to affect the livestock and poultry industry as well as a hefty increase in food prices as GMOs crops were used as raw material for animal feed.

    The SC order covers major grain imports, including corn, soybean meal and sorghum. The biggest impact was on soymeal and corn, the Philippines’ top annual GMO import at 2.5 million metric tons and 500,000 MT, respectively.

    With the new set of regulations ready for signing, Alcala hopes that the concerns over food security and research in agriculture will be addressed.

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