Statement of the National Academy of Science and Technology Philippines (NAST-PHL) on the Supreme Court decision on Bt talong [ISAAA et al. vs. Greenpeace Southeast Asia (Phils) et al. (G. R. Nos. 209271, 209276, 209301, and 209430)] 08 January 2016
NAST-PHL expresses grave concern on the serious negative effect on food security and on the research community of the Supreme Court decision 1) permanently stopping these questioned field tests for Bt talong;2) declaring null and void the “Rules and Regulations for the Importation and Release into the Environment of Plants and Plant Products Derived from the Use of Modern Biotechnology” otherwise known as the Department of Agriculture Order No. 08, series of 2002; and, 3) temporarily stopping any application for contained use, field testing, propagation and commercialization and importation of genetically modified organisms until a new administrative order is promulgated in accordance with the law.
The activity that was permanently stopped was the field testing of a genetically engineered eggplant. The tests were being conducted in plots, 920 sq.m. each, in five different places in the Philippines. These field tests were part of a research project that was started in 2007 as an option for controlling the fruit and stem borer (FSB), the most destructive insect pest of the eggplant. The genetically engineered Bt talong would have provided an option for the farmers to control the FSB infestation of eggplant by incorporating the gene from naturally- occurring soil bacterium, Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), that produces the toxin specific for the group of insects to which the FSB belongs. Bt has been used as a biopesticide for more than 50 years in many vegetable farms all over the world and has been proven to be harmless to human beings, plants and other animals. At present, synthetic pesticides with known adverse health effects are sprayed 60-80 times to control the FSB and prevent a 70-80% yield loss in most of the 22,000 hectares of eggplant. Unfortunately, the conduct of additional field tests to determine the viability of this Bt talong has now been permanently blocked.
The National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines (NAST PHL) through its Engineering Sciences and Technology Division (ESTD) led a focus group discussion (FGD) on the “Past, Present, and Future of ICT Infrastructure in the Philippines” last December 4, 2015, at Millennium Salon, The Manila Hotel. Academician (Acd.). William G. Padolina, President of NAST welcomed the participants and highlighted the importance of the ICT Infrastructure in the economic development of the Philippines.
Academician Jose B. Cruz, Jr., member of the ESTD, and the convenor of the FGD, described the objectives of the FGD, and the relationship of the FGD on ICT Infrastructure to the other engineering infrastructures such as energy, transportation, and water, pointing out the importance of the ICT Infrastructure in its own right, and its importance to the effectiveness of the other infrastructures. The past, present, and future of engineering infrastructures will be presented by the ESTD during the 38th Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) in July 2016, to support the ASM theme “Past, Present, and Future”. The Social Science Division (SSD) will be the lead division for the ASM. Acd. Cruz further thanked his colleagues, Acd William T. Torres and Acd Eliezer Albacea, for their assistance in planning the FGD.
The FGD was divided into two parts: (1) present status of the national ICT Infrastructure and the (2) future challenges in developing the national ICT infrastructure.
Director Philip Varilla of the National ICT Governance Service, Information and Communications Technology Office-DOST was the speaker for Part 1 which was moderated by Acd. Cruz. Director Varilla, in his presentation “Broadband in the Philippines: A Closer Look”, gave the importance and impact of broadband to the country’s economy and described the Philippine broadband landscape to consist of different elements that use high-speed connectivity to interact with each other.
On the local networks’ domestic connectivity, he reported that PLDT’s Domestic Fiber Optic Network infrastructure build-up supports the sustainable growth of wireless broadband, which is crucial for mobile customers as well as Ethernet services, particularly for multinational corporations requiring high bandwidth capacity. Globe Telecom operates and maintains various fiber optic networks, which includes two Fiber Optic Backbone Networks connecting the entire Philippine archipelago.
The National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines (NAST PHL), the government's highest recognition and advisory body on science and technology declares its strong support to the 18-Day campaign to End Vilence Against Women by joining the "Orange Your Icon for 18-Days" (25 November to 12 December 2015) and by attending the "Assembly of Anti-VAW Advocacy Supporters" on 25 November at the Aliw Theater, Pasay City.
ORANGE YOUR ICON FOR 18 DAYS. To raise awareness and conciousness of wider audience in taking action on VAW as a public issue, NAST PHL joins "Orange your Icon for 18 days".
NAST PHL has chosen "SANSUKLOB", a wooden sculptureof Jerusaline V. Araos displayed in front of the Science Heritage Building at the DOST Compound, Bicutan, Taguig City. The whole structure is crypt-like and furnished with some cryptic elements. Wood panels serve as walls at the same time they are scrools upon which the "most explosive" document of the Revolution is etched. This stanza from the poem of Gat Andres Bonifcaio could have been the key to a united and selfless struggle for nationa liberation.
The NAST Secretariat decorated "Sansuklob" with orange cloth, creep paper, baloons, board papers (hands shaped). NAST PHL logo and the 18-day campaign streamer. Please see attached photo for your reference.
NAST PHL is the only agency at the DOST Compound in Bicutan that participated in this initiative. Through this, the Academy shows its support on the Anti-VAW advocacy and brings the message of zero tolerance for VAW to the public's attention.