Civil society perspectives on biosafety regulation in the Philippines
Civil Society Perspectives onBiosafety Regulations in thePhilippines Lee M. Aruelo Third World Network (TWN); Network Opposed to Genetically Modified Organisms (NO2GMOs); and Go Organic Mindanao (GOM)
Statement of the Problem: There has been an influx of different varieties of GM crops in the Philippines for propagation and for food, feed and processing, not to mention those that are already pending for approval. What is problematic is that there is not much to speak of in terms of regulatory mechanisms in the country that can assess risks to health and environment for the farm and large-scale planting of genetically engineered crops at present.
Philippines Population: +/- 100 Million Total Land Area: 30 million has 47% or about 13 million ha devoted to agriculture
GMO Status: Facts The first GMO to be approved for commercial release in the Phil in December 2002 was the pest resistant Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) corn and is now cultivated all over the country. The Phils. is the FIRST country in Asia to commercialize a GM crop for food, feed or processing.
GMO Status: Facts There are 58 GMO applications approved by the Bureau of Plant Industry since December 2002. There are 53 GMO applications approved for Food, Feed and for Processing. There are 5 GMO applications approved for Commercial Propagation.
GMO Status: Facts There are • RR Corn – herbicide tolerant corn by four types of Swiss Syngenta AG (Corn GA 21) • Bt corn – resistant to Asian Corn Borer corn varieties by U.S. Monsanto Co. (Corn Mon 810) cleared for • RR corn – herbicide tolerant corn by commercial U.S. Monsanto Co. (Corn NK 603) propagation • Bt corn – variety by Swiss Syngenta AG (Corn Bt 11) • Stack-Trait (Bt-RR) Corn by U.S. Monsanto Co. (Stacked Corn Mon 810 x NK 603)
GMO Status: Facts The plant varieties Soybean approved for direct Canola use as food, feed Potato and for processing are.. Cotton Sugar-beet Alfalfa Corn
Philippine Regulatory System for Biotech Products
Philippine Regulatory System forBiotech Products1. Philippine Constitution2. National Policy Statement on Modern Biotechnology3. Department of Agriculture (DA) Administrative Order No. 8, s20024. Executive Order No. 514, The National Biosafety Framework
Constitutional Polices Right to Health (Art. II, Sec. 15); Right to a Healthy Environment (Art. II, Sec. 16); Priority to Science (Art. II, Sec. 17); Role of the Private Sector (Art. II, Sec. 20); Rural Development (Art. II, Sec 21; Art. XIII, Sec. 5); Right to Information (Art. II, Sec. 28); Local Autonomy (Art. X, Sec. 2); Right to Participation (Art. XIII, Sec. 16) ; Science and Technology (Art. XIV, Sec. 10 and 12); Consumer Protection (Art. XVI, Sec. 9)
Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Administration’s Policy on Biotechnology“We shall promote the safe and responsible use of modern biotechnology and its products as one of several means to achieve and sustain food security, equitable access to health services, sustainable and safe environment, and industry development”
Philippine Regulatory System for Biotech Products Department of Agriculture Administrative Order No. 8, Series of 2002 Importation and Release into the Environment of Plants and Plant Products Derived from the Use of Modern biotechnology
Department of Agriculture Administrative Order No. 8, Series of 2002 Sets into place a process by which the DA will conduct a formal determination of the safety of plant and plant products derived from the use of modern biotechnology. Under DA-AO 8, all biotech plant and plant products for release into the environment for field testing and propagation, or for importation for direct use for food, feed, or for processing shall undergo required safety tests.
Philippine Regulatory System forBiotech Products Executive Order 514 of 2006 or the National Biosafety Framework (“NBF”)The Office of the President issued on 17 March2006 Executive Order No. 514 “Establishing theNational Biosafety Framework, PrescribingGuidelines for Its Implementation, Strengtheningthe National Committee on Biosafety of thePhilippines, and for Other Purposes”
Executive Order 514 of 2006 or theNational Biosafety Framework (“NBF”) The lead body to coordinate and harmonize inter- agency and multi-sector efforts to develop biosafety policies in the country is the National Committee on Biosafety of the Philippines. The NBF applies to the development, adoption, and implementation of all biosafety policies, measures, and guidelines and in making biosafety decisions concerning the research, development, handling and use, transboundary movement, release into the environment, and management of regulated articles.
Problems/Issues with the Current GMO Regulations
Problems/Issues with the CurrentGMO Regulations Lack of Labeling Mechanisms Insufficient Venue for Public Consultation Lack of Liability and Redress Substantial Equivalence Lack of Environmental Impact Assessments Safety Testing vs. Risk Assessment
Lack of Labeling Mechanisms the current labeling regulation of BFAD only mandates a generic labeling of all ingredients, having no reference to the process by which the product is produced. at present, there is no GM labeling regulation in the Philippines
Insufficient Venue for PublicConsultation The different provisions on “public consultation” under DAO No. 8 require only publication of the Public Information Sheet which must contain the invitation to send written comments.
Insufficient Venue for PublicConsultation Public consultation is fulfilled through the posting of a Public Information Sheet instead of full-blown actual consultations with hearings and the opportunity to present resource persons and other supporting evidence
Lack of Liability and RedressRegime Current regulations do not make anybody including the TNCs that sell genetically modified seeds responsible and accountable for any damage to human health and environment that may occur
Substantial EquivalenceEstablishment of substantial equivalence is not a safety assessment per se but that establishing the characteristics and composition of novel food as equivalent to those of a familiar, conventional food with a history of safe consumption means that the new product will be no less safe under similar consumption patterns and processing practices.
Substantial Equivalence A GM food that is substantially equivalent to an existing food should not be subject to additional regulatory requirements
Lack of Environmental ImpactAssessments DENR Refuses to apply EIA regulations on GMOs Refuses to adopt regulations for environmental assessment of GMOs
Fill Gaps in Existing Regulations:BIOSAFETY LAW New concern due to wider application of modern biotechnology in agriculture & other areas (i.e., GM Virus; GE Tree; GE Fish; GM Mosquito, etc.); Development at the International Level on Biosafety – approval of the Supplementary Protocol on Liability and Redress; Approval of the Road Map for Risk Assessment in COP- MOP5
Network Opposed to GeneticallyModified Organisms or NO2GMOs! Anniversary Date: 4 December 1998 Nature: loose network and intends to continue maintaining such Leadership: Coordinator of the network is only be for 3 years (i.e., TWN: 2008-2010); "Troika Leadership" - where the current Coordinator (TWN) works with the past Coordinator (SIBAT) and future Coordinator (PAKISAMA): to ensure continuity of the network
Network Opposed to GeneticallyModified Organisms or NO2GMOs! Programs and Activities Regular monthly meeting of the network, once a month, i.e., every last Thursday of the month; special or emergency meeting as needed; rotating venue and sponsorship of the meeting (food and documentation) Annual Year-End Evaluation and Planning Capacity building program (e.g., Staff Development) Education Information Campaign (e.g. Fora and symposia) Advocacy and lobbying activities (national & local) either as a network (GM Labelling Bill) or bilateral collaboration of members (GMO Ban Ordinance; Organic Agriculture ordinance) massive information dissemination
Network Opposed to GeneticallyModified Organisms or NO2GMOs! Financial Resources: Network’s activities are jointly funded by the member organizations; “seed-fund” Communication: website; e-group; sms Major Campaigns: Bt Corn (Mon 810): 2002 Bt Eggplant: on-going Golden Rice: to start… Advocacy Strategy: Organic Agriculture followed by GMO Ban
Network Opposed to GeneticallyModified Organisms or NO2GMOs! Member Organizations: Action Group on Erosion, Technology and Action (ETC), Consumer Rights for Safe Food (CRSF), Earth Savers Movement (ESM), Environmental Broadcast Circle (EBC), Ecological Society of the Philippines (ESP), Foundation for Philippine Environment (FPE), Go Organic Alliance!, GRAIN, Greenpeace-Southeast Asia,, JPICC-AMRSP, Lingkod-Tao- Kalikasan (LTK), Magsasaka at Siyentipiko para sa Pag-unlad ng Agrikultura (MASIPAG), Miriam Public Education and Awareness Campaign for the Environment (Miriam-P.E.A.C.E), Mother Earth foundation (MEF), Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsaaka (PAKISAMA), Partido Kalikasan Institute (PKI), The Philippine Development Assistance Programme, Inc. (PDAP), Philippine Network of Food Security Programmes, Inc. (PNFSP), Sarilaya, Southeast Asia Regional Institute for Community Education (SEARICE), Sibol ng Agham at Teknolohiya (SIBAT), and Third World Network (TWN)