8 April 2016
Philippines Likely to Implement Regulations on Genetically Modified Organisms by April
The Philippines government is expected to implement by April 2016 a new set of stringent regulations governing the use and import of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).
This expected move by the government is aimed at introducing greater transparency in the approval of permits for the import, use and commercial cultivation of GMO products.
The new guidelines will tighten existing approval procedures for importation of GMO products and materials into the Philippines, as well as regulations that govern the use of GMO products within the country.
The new rules provide for strict environmental scrutiny before biosafety permits for GMO products are issued. Several biosafety committees will be established to review applications for field trials, use, and commercial cultivation of GMO products in the country, as well as to assess the environmental risks and health impact of such use and propagation of GMO articles.
The new guidelines were laid down in a joint circular signed by five government ministers on 7 March 2016. The document has been forwarded to the department of agriculture, which is expected to implement the new regulations by April.
It also comes after the Philippines Supreme Court in December 2015 imposed a ban on the issuance of fresh permits for GMOs unless the previous 2002 regulations were revised. The ban had led to fears of an impending food crisis in the country as the court’s ruling affected one million farmers and importers of genetically modified soybean meal.