Govt approves new GMO rules to avert food supply disruption
The Philippines has approved a rigorous set of rules on the use and importation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), seeking to avert potentially disastrous disruptions in crop harvests and food supplies.
Five agencies including the Department of Science and Technology, Department of Agriculture, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Health and Department of Interior and Local Government finalized and signed a joint circular, which laid down the new guidelines on the propagation and sale of GMOs.
The new guidelines, which are likely to be implemented next month, address the issues earlier raised by the Supreme Court.
In a landmark ruling last December, the Supreme Court temporarily stopped the government from accepting applications for field testing, propagating and importing GMOs until new rules were in place.
The High Court’s ruling reportedly affected one million corn farmers and importers of genetically modified soybean meal.
According to the Supreme Court, the DA order failed to meet the minimum requirements for safety.
The Supreme Court’s ruling was in response to the petitions filed by environmental activits and agencies such as Greenpeace, which argued that the technology poses risks to public health.
Advocates of GMOs, however, insist that high-yielding genetically altered crops will help ensure food security as the population expands.
The Philippines was the first in Asia to allow planting and commercialization of GM crop in 2002.