Institutional Biosafety Committee

Any institution intending to undertake any activity involving GMOs must first set up an Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC). The IBC shall be responsible for evaluating project proposals involving GMOs under contained use and confined test, and endorsing the project proposals to the DOST-BC for appropriate action.

After the project is approved, the IBC shall be responsible for supervising, monitoring and reporting to the DOST-BC its progress.

More importantly, the IBC shall make sure that the environment and human health are safeguarded in the conduct of any activity involving GMOs by the institution or by any of its employees or researchers. It shall also inform the surrounding communities of any plans for confined field tests, including the concomitant risks thereof, if any.

The IBC shall comply with the following responsibilities set forth by the DOST-BC:

(a) Apply the best scientific information available in undertaking the initial risk assessment of the proposed activities involving GMOs;
(b) Identify potential hazards to human health and the environment and to advise the Project Leader on their proper management;
(c) Review the qualifications and experience of personnel involved in the projects;
(d) Ensure competence, acceptable professional practices and adequate supervision of project staff;
(e) Together with the proponent, take the necessary steps to inform the community of the proposed activities for confined test involving GMOs, and provide the community the opportunity to comment. The IBC shall collate the comments elicited from the community and advise the DOST-BC accordingly;
(f) Submit all required project documents for review and approval;
(g) Ensure that all communications from the DOST-BC are conveyed to, and if applicable, complied with by the proponent;
(h) Ensure that all relevant regulatory agencies have been consulted and necessary permits, licenses or approvals have been obtained before any activities on GMOs are carried out;
(i) Develop and implement appropriate contingency and/or mitigation plans to address situations when containment/confinement measures will be compromised due to natural disasters and calamities and other unavoidable circumstances;
(j) Determine and inform the DOST-BC of the actual date of project implementation without compromising the purpose of which the activity was designed.
(k) Monitor the implementation of the proposed activities and continuously evaluate compliance with the conditions set by the DOST-BC and recommend additional biosafety measures, if necessary;
(l) Conduct periodic inspections of containment/confinement facilities to ensure compliance with established containment procedures;
(m) Ensure that accesses to restricted facilities are limited to authorized personnel;
(n) Report immediately all unexpected observations, accidents, and unexplained illnesses or absences of personnel which may be attributed to the activities involving GMOs;
(o) Notify immediately the DOST-BC of any untoward incident or breach of biosafety measures related to the activities involving GMOs;
(p) Keep records of all procedures, decisions and directives related to the activities involving GMOs;
(q) Endorse the activity report and material management report of the project within 15 working days upon completion of such activity;
(r) Endorse the technical completion report of the project within 120 calendar days after completion of the contained or confined test (see ANNEX V-A.17/V-B.19);
(s) Submit the IBC Report after completion of any project involving GMOs at the end of the activities (see ANNEX V-A.18/V-B.20); and,
(t) Submit an annual report to the DOST-BC, who shall furnish copies to the NCBP.

The IBC shall be composed of at least five (5) members, all of whom must first be approved by the NCBP through the DOST-BC:
(a) At least three (3) members shall be designated as the “scientist-members”, one of which shall not be affiliated with the applicant. They must possess scientific or technological knowledge and expertise sufficient to enable them to properly evaluate and monitor any work involving GMOs conducted by the institution.
(b) The other members, not less than two (2) individuals, shall be designated as “community representatives”. They must not be affiliated with the institution apart from their affiliation with the IBC. They must be in a position to represent the interests of the communities surrounding the institution or which may be affected by the planned activities involving the use of GMOs.
(c) One (1) of the community representatives shall be an elected official (an individual holding an elective position in the community). Additional members may be recommended by the Head of the Institution subject to the approval of the NCBP through the DOST-BC.
(d) When the site is within an ancestral domain, a representative from Indigenous Peoples (IPs) shall be selected through the local IP (IPRA Law-NCIP) process in consultation with the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP).