In 1990, the Philippines became the first country to initiate a biotechnology regulatory system. This was formalised via the issuance of Executive Order No. 430 in 1990, which established the National Committee on Biosafety of the Philippines (NCBP).
Just a fortnight ago, DOST led a forum in which they promised a bright future in Biotechnology to students. The broad range of applications in biotechnology ranging from medicine to energy production was shared to appeal aspiring undergraduates and graduates.
With the advent use of ICTs in research, the forum also called upon computer scientists to pursue bioinformatics. Bioinformatics is the application of computer technology to manage biological information.
The forum led by DOST echoes ASEAN’s faith in the importance and potential of the biotech field.
As we have seen already, several countries have introduced initiatives to spur greater interest in the area of biotechnology.
In October, the National University of Singapore launched the Synthetic Biology for Clinical and Technological Innovation (SynCTI) in October 2015, to develop the research capabilities in the field of synthetic biology in Singapore.
Earlier this year, Malaysia’s lead agency for biotechnology, the Biotechnology Corporation (BiotechCorp), opened its first office in San Francisco to provide assistance to US companies that are looking at a regional hub in Southeast Asia.
Malaysia is also ranked fourth globally for Biotech Enterprise Support according to the Scientific American Report.
Philippines DOST to take advantage of Biotechnology
DOST offers attractive scholarships to citizens of the Philippines at both undergraduate and graduate levels to encourage and assist students in biotech education.
This includes the Science and Technology Scholarship Program (STSP) and Accelerated Science and Technology Human Resource Development Program (ASTHRDP).
The scholarships also include research grants which can amount to more than US$9500 per student (450000 PHP).
Philippines have successfully depended on biotechnology to maintain its self-sufficiency and boosting its export GDP. Biotechnology is mainly applied in the agricultural industry for food security and sustainability.
According to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Application (ISAAA), Philippines is now the biggest grower of GM crops with over 830 000 hectares of corn grown last year.
Philippines is fast transitioning into an industrialised nation. Biotechnology is and will be crucial to the nation and region’s well-being. With the economy and security dependent on agriculture, the nation is fast preparing its future generation to embrace this field of biotechnology.