The public can now rely on more accurate biotechnology information as agriculture workers participated in a seminar workshop in San Fernando, Pampanga and Ilagan City, Isabela. .

In the two-day activity, regional field offices of the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Regions II and III were briefed about the biotech program, principles and applications, regulatory system, and locally developed biotechnology products such as Bt Talong and Golden Rice.

Crispulo G. Bautista Jr., OIC regional executive director of Region III, expressed imperative for agriculture workers to have accurate and useful information on biotechnology to ensure that the public receives factual and truthful information about biotechnology.

“I requested this biotech briefing for Region III from [former] Director Mamaril so that our staff can learn about these technologies. Rest assured that the DA-RFO III will cascade the right information about biotechnology,” he said.

Safety, efficiency, effectiveness, market price, and regulations of genetically modified (GM) crops and other biotech-related products were discussed.

“Biotech products have to undergo rigorous and evidence-based assessments provided by the current regulatory system to be considered safe and effective,” resource speakers including Usec. Segfredo R. Serrano emphasized.

Serrano, retired DA Undersecretary for Policy, Planning, Project Development, and R 4D, also urged the participants to engage and empower the farmers to make evidence-based decisions on the use of biotech products in improving their livelihood.

“[Our regulatory system ensures] that only biotechnology initiatives that can benefit our people, demonstrate environmental integrity, and respect farming practices will be approved…Our farmers [need] to have appreciation of science, so that they won’t have a culture of fear,” Serrano said.

The Department of Agriculture-Biotechnology Program Office (DA-BPO), Philippine Rice Research Institute, and International Rice Research Institute, led the initiative.

DA-BPO plans to continue coordinating with DA-RFOs from other regions to conduct more biotech seminars and training to bridge the information gap among the agriculture workers.

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Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) is a government corporate entity attached to the Department of Agriculture created through Executive Order 1061 on 5 November 1985 (as amended) to help develop high-yielding and cost-reducing technologies so farmers can produce enough rice for all Filipinos.

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Philippine Rice Research Institute