Southeast Asian University Consortium for Graduate Education in Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC)

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The University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) has been at the forefront of biotechnology research and development in the Philippines with the establishment of the Institute of Plant Breeding (IPB) and the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (BIOTECH). At present, it maintains its support for the multi-location field trials of the fruit-and-shoot-borer resistant Bt eggplant despite a petition filed against the experiment by Greenpeace Southeast Asia and other anti-GMO groups.

The UPLB administration stressed the importance of strengthening the trans-disciplinary scientific approach to research and problem solving of the University, and calls on other sectors to support the continuation of the Bt eggplant field tests.

The Bt eggplant project, already on its 10th year of implementation, is a priority project of UPLB in accord with its pro-people and pro-environment agenda. The current field trials are being responsibly and safely undertaken together with scientific organizations and partner state universities in compliance with the biosafety requirements and guidelines approved by national regulatory bodies such as the National Committee on Biosafety of the Philippines (NCBP) and the Bureau of Plant Industry of the Department of Agriculture.

The objective of the project is to help advance the welfare of small farmers, the consumers, and the environment. UPLB conducts the field trials in accordance with the biosafety guidelines issued by the NCBP and clearly stipulated in the Department of Agriculture Administrative Order No. 8 S-2002 which are compliant to the global biosafety standards under the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, specifically the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.

Ecological balance and environmental safety are non-negotiable core values of the University in the conduct of research. Anti-GMO organizations must rest assured that the University is wholly committed in conducting responsible research on safe and beneficial technologies. While the University recognizes other people's right to their own opinion, the diversity of ideas and opinions which all modern democracies guarantee requires that the rights and freedoms, especially the academic freedom of a university like UPLB must be accorded the same respect and recognition.

 

 

Condensed from: UPLB News|April 2012

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