NAGA CITY-The Department of Agriculture-Biotechnology Program Office (DA-BPO), in collaboration with the DA-Regional Field Office (RFO) V-Bicol Region, conducted a seminar-workshop for the DA-RFO’s key personnel and local agriculture officials.
Joining the DA-BPO in this initiative were the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).
The activity, which was DA-BPO’s build-up activity for the annual celebration of the National Biotech Week, aimed to impart necessary knowledge and skills that can help the DA-RFO personnel respond to public queries on matters relevant to biotechnology.
DA-RFO V OIC Regional Executive Director Rodel P. Tornilla welcomed delegates from the provincial and municipal agricultural offices in the region.
According to Dir. Tornilla, it is relevant to launch comprehensive information dissemination campaigns about various initiatives of the government on biotechnology as this is primarily intended to help achieve food security and food sufficiency. With this, he expressed DA Bicol Region’s continuous support towards communicating biotech as a technological option for Filipino farmers.
“With the uprooting incident we experienced from anti-biotech groups relative to the field trials of Golden Rice way back in 2013 inside the DA compound here in the region…the challenge for us is how to make biotech products and methods acceptable to the public,” he said.
In the seminar, the participants learned about the biotechnology, principles and applications, regulatory system, and locally-developed biotechnology products such as Bt Talong and Golden Rice. Subject-matter experts responded to various queries and misconceptions. During the discussion, participants raised their concerns mainly about the safety, efficiency, effectiveness, market price, and regulations of genetically modified (GM) crops and other biotech-related products. The resource speakers assured participants that biotech products have to undergo rigorous, evidence-based assessments provided by the current regulatory system in order to be considered safe and effective.
The resource speakers and experts include DA-BPO PDO Marcellas Y. Barrogo, St. Lukes Medical Center Consultant Dr. Nina Gloriani, Bureau of Plant Industry Representatives Dr. Peter Magdaraog and Ms. Viola Katherin Gamboa, UP Los Baños Researcher Dr. Lourdes Taylo, and PhilRice Healthier Rice Project Leader Dr. Reynante Ordonio.
DA-RFO V OIC RED Rodel P. Tornilla delivers welcome remarks for delegates from
the provincial and municipal agricultural offices in the region.
DA-RFO V Key personnel and delagates from the Bicol Region Provincial and Municipal Agriculture Offices share photo op with DA-BPO Information, Education, and Communication Chair Fr. Emmanuel Alparce and invited resource speakers.
Participants actively participate in the workshop proper to further deepen
their understanding on biotech.