MANILA - The Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC) today said the Court of Appeals' decision against field tests of genetically-modified eggplants reverses whatever the country has already done for food security.
In a statement, the JFC said: "The Court of Appeals decision against the bt eggplant is therefore a major setback to the advancement of Philippine research and development, particularly modern biotechnology, which is critical in addressing the issues of hunger, better nutrition and access to food in the country.”
The appellate court affirmed last September 26 an order banning field trials of the genetically-modified eggplant.
The bt eggplant is also tagged as the super talong.
The Greenpeace Southeast Asia and the Magsasaka at Siyentipiko sa Pagpapaunlad ng Agrikultura asked the appellate court to stop the field trials since the impact on the environment, native crops and human health is not yet known.
The JFC, however, said field trials for biotechnology crops "are essential to the country’s research and development of solutions to combat hunger."
It said the decision to prohibit further trials of bt eggplant effectively goes against the national government’s goal to provide safe, affordable and nutritious food developed from new technologies, including biotechnology. It said biotechnology offers cost-efficient solutions to attain long-term food security.
"The bt eggplant is one of the so-called Pinoy Biotech, biotech crops being locally developed by public research institutions to address particular problems of national importance. It is undergoing research for commercial use by the Philippine scientific community under strict monitoring and supervision of proper government regulatory agencies," it said.
It also took note of another Pinoy Biotech, the Golden rice, which was developed to address vitamin A deficiency among women and children.
"These important developments are being made possible in a progressive environment where scientific research and the adoption of new technologies to provide solutions to humanitarian concerns such as hunger and food security are encouraged and allowed to flourish," it said.