Philippines: Agricultural Biotechnology Annual
The Philippines continues to be a regional leader in biotech research and commercialization, as well as a model for science-based and thorough GE regulatory policy. GE corn has been on sale in the country since 2003 and comprised 28 percent of planted corn area in 2013. The Philippine government recently cited the successful propagation of GE corn over the past decade (with no environmental or health issues whatsoever) as the reason the country is now self-sufficient in the grain. Additionally, with Golden Rice and Bt eggplant, the Philippines is poised to be the first Southeast Asian country to commercialize locally developed GE crops. The success of the Philippines in these food security efforts has attracted attacks from domestic and international anti-GE groups, culminating in a widely criticized 2012 lawsuit postponing final commercial approval of the already completed Bt eggplant field trials, as well as the destruction of a Golden Rice field trial in 2013 by activist groups. According to academia, industry and local government sources, the Bt eggplant case and the vandalism of the Golden Rice tests have galvanized local stakeholders to coordinate educational outreach activities to promote the safe and responsible use of biotechnology.