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“Biosafety and the Law Training Course”, a three-day training organized by the Program for Biosafety Systems, in cooperation with the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Science and Technology Biosafety Committee and the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, University of the Philippines Los Banos was held from 21-23 July 2014.

 

The objective of this training is to provide a systematic and organized set of information to Filipino lawyers, regulators and policy makers on the critical legal issues surrounding biotechnology and biosafety of Living Modified Organisms in order to guide them in their decision-making.

During the course, the participants were introduced to the concept of genetic engineering in crops and the extent of local and global adoption of transgenic crops, the concept of biosafety, which concerns efforts to minimize if not to totally eliminate risks in the conduct of experiments on biotechnology. Also of equal importance, especially on the part of the policy makers and regulators was a walk-through on the Philippine Biosafety regulations on LMO's, the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and its provisions, the Supplementary Protocol on liability and redress and the measures that the country need to put in place in order to comply with its provisions. Also discussed were the socio-economic considerations, compliance, and enforcement of regulations, other treaties and international agreements that impact biosafety. The importance of transparency and public participation in the decision-making process were discussed, confidential business information in proposals and other critical legal issues relevant to biosafety regulation. Lastly, litigation/cases filed involving GM crops from around the world and their status were presented. The course will be first of a series of activities in the Philippines, aimed at creating awareness and providing science-based information to members of our legal system in what we called "Greening of the bench".