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Vol. XVIII No. 3

May - June 2000

Harnessing the tools of agri-biotechnology *


ith the burgeoning human population in the developing countries, the pressure faced by the agriculture sector to produce more food becomes harder than ever. The Philippine population, for instance, has already

reached 70 million and is projected to peak at 120 million by 2020. As such, higher land productivity and cropping intensity are needed to meet the growing demand for food. Moreover, urbanization and industrialization are rapidly taking away the areas for agriculture and making water less available. The world’s aquatic resources are also being severely depleted at an alarming rate. All of these make the challenge to produce more food on limited land and less water

Food security is indeed an enormous task today and tomorrow for the agricultural sector—a task that it must carry out amidst the host of biological, economic, environmental and cultural problems that continue to impinge on its productivity. In this regard, science once again provides the possible answer as it offers a critical solution to solving the problems of increasing food supply and improving agricultural productivity through biotechnology.

Biotechnology defined Biotechnology is any technique that uses living organisms or substances from such organisms to make or modify a product, improve plants or animals, or develop microorganisms for specific uses (Persley and Doyle 1999 as cited in PIDS Policy Notes 2000-06). It involves the traditional techniques of fermentation, and tissue and cell culture as well as the modern techniques such as genomics, bio-informatics, transformato page 2

even greater.

* Based on the highlights of the presentations given during the PIDS-BAR Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology, 26 June 2000, PIDS, Makati City. The presentors include Dr. William Padolina, Dr. Randy Hautea, Dr. Catherine Ives and Dr. Leo Sebastian. This article was also culled from “Defining the Agricultural Biotechnology Policy of the Philippines” (Policy Notes 2000-06) and “Agricultural Biotechnology Research and Development in the Philippines: The Need for a Strategic Research” (Discussion Paper 2000-17), both written by Dr. Saturnina Halos, and “Agricultural Biotechnology: Opportunities and Challenges for the Philippines" by Dr. William Padolina (Discussion Paper 2000-27).

ISSN 0115-9097

What's Inside 6 7


Creating opportunities through agri-biotechnology Points of View: Agri-biotech and the government Introducing the GIS: A new instrument in analyzing and presenting socioeconomic data

Editor's Notes “Necessity,” as the saying goes, “is the mother of all inventions.” For centuries, that is the way it has often been. And in modern times, the same principle seems to apply. Thus, when the world is faced with a burgeoning population that somehow stokes fear of a possible food shortage in some areas where the land could no longer produce enough to feed the overgrown population, science and its wonto page 14


Biotech... From page 1

tion, marker-assisted breeding, diagnostics, and vaccine technology. Biotechnology is actually not a new concept as man has already been practicing traditional biotechnology for a long time. Alcoholic beverages such as beer and other fermented foods have been produced through the traditional modes of biotechnology. Other products resulting from biotechnology are antibiotics, vitamins, organic acids, amino acids and industrial enzymes. Modern biotechnology, however, involves the modification or reconstruction of the genes of microorganisms, plants and animals, or what is known as recombinant deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) technology or genetic engineering. Compared to traditional biotechnology, the modern process is knowledge-intensive and based on the science of molecular biology.

Local tissue culture research has enabled the rapid mass propagation of ornamental plants such as orchids as well as banana, makapuno and potato, thereby helping to boost the plant industry. Animal and plant diseases can now be detected at an early stage using biotechnology-derived diagnostic kits. Vitamin and iron-enriched rice, corn and legumes with increased amino acids are likewise possible. Their availability will be a great help in alleviating the twin problems of poverty and malnutrition.

"The bottomline is that we don’t have people who know the works of biochemical engineering. We need to retool our chemical engineers so that they will have some expertise." --Dr. William Padolina

Much has been said about the benefits derived by agriculture from biotechnology and its products. Improved rice varieties possessing greater resistance to pests and diseases and tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses as well as better quality produce, for instance, are just some of the outputs of biotechnology which have brought significant economic benefits to the farmers because of the reduced use of chemical pesticides and of less crop damages. Bio-organic fertilizers, biopesticides and biocontrol agents, which are products of traditional biotechnology, serve as economical and ecologically sound alternatives to chemical fertilizers.

May - June 2000


Meanwhile, advanced countries have successfully developed transgenic crops with superior qualities such as corn requiring less pesticide, herbicideresistant soybean, carnation with longer shelf life, virus-protected potato, and tomato with better processing properties. Their adoption has been reported to bring higher incomes for the farmers because of better yields, both in terms of quality and quantity, and because of reduced cost of labor, fertilizer and pesticides. Translated into the macro level, this spells higher productivity and global competitiveness for the agricultural sector as it is able to

produce higher quality food crops and products at a lower production cost.

Philippine situation The Philippines is one of the first Asian countries to establish a biotechnology research and development (R&D) program. This was through the National Institute of Biotechnology and Applied Microbiology (BIOTECH) established in 1980 at the University of the Philippines-Los Baños (UPLB). BIOTECH is mandated to “develop cost-effective technologies for the production of goods and services that are cheaper alternatives to conventional products but which are safe to the environment and make use of locally available materials.” Other institutes that conduct biotechnology research are UPLB’s Department of Horticulture, Institute of Biological Sciences (IBS) and Institute of Plant Breeding (IPB), and the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) based in the Nueva Ecija province. Dr. William Padolina, former secretary of the Philippines' Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and current deputy director-general of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) at Los Baños, noted that notwithstanding the fact that it had established a biotechnology R&D program much earlier than other Asian countries, the Philippines has been very slow in harnessing the tools of biotechnology in the past two decades. Most of the activities conducted under the biotechnology R&D program were in the traditional techniques of biotechnology. Thus, until now, the major technology-based industries developed are those that are based on traditional fermentation technologies such as alcohol and winemaking, vinegar-making and monosodium glutamate production. In addition, studies show that, during the period 1979-1997, 75 percent of the 263 agricultural biotechnology projects conducted were on the


production of biocontrol agents, soil inoculants, food and beverages, and the development of tissue culture methods; 15 percent on other applications of microbial systems (feed additives, enzymes, farm waste management and vaccines); and only 10 percent on modern biotechnology (monoclonal antibodies, molecular markers and RDNA) (Table 1).

Constraints Until the early 1990s, few activities have been undertaken in molecular biology and genetic engineering in the Philippines. This is quite ironic, as earlier noted, considering that the Philippines has been among the first countries in Asia to recognize the importance of biotechnology in national development. Why is this so?

May - June 2000


The answer lies in the examination of the factors affecting the direction of biotechnology research. Dr. Saturnina Halos of the National Research Institute, University of the Philippines in Diliman, observed that the direction of biotechnology research is determined by how the research system defines the scope of biotechnology, the prevailing economic policies during a given period and the available resources. Biotechnology is very broad in terms of scope. It covers traditional fermentation technologies at one end and modern biotechnology that includes RDNA and genetic engineering at the other. In terms of economic policies, the reduction of imports was the emphasis in the early 80s when the BIOTECH was created. The country’s biotechnology program was thus directed toward de-

veloping technologies for import substitution. This is clearly reflected in the type of technologies developed by BIOTECH such as soil inoculants and bio-insecticides to substitute for costly chemical fertilizers and protein-enriched root crops or banana peelings to substitute for imported soybean and fishmeal. In terms of available resources, there is the perennial problem of limited funding for biotechnology research. Only a meager allowance is given for R&D, that is, less than 0.21 percent of the gross national product per annum—a reflection of the lack of political will to push the program forward. Local scientists are thus having a difficult time in accessing new technologies as well as conducting studies to page 4

Table 1. Product target and techniques used in Philippine biotechnology research, 1979-1997 Product

Number of projects

Percent to total

Biocontrol agents Soil amendments (inoculant, compost) Food/beverage Tissue culture methods (micropropagation, plant breeding, cell culture) Feed component (enzyme, antibiotic, improved material) Enzyme/cells of agriprocessing Diagnostics

55 44 43

20.9 16.7 16.3

Fermentation Fermentation Fermentation



Tissue culture

20 16 7

7.6 6.1 2.7

Farm waste management Molecular marker techniques1 Vaccine antibody, conventional methods Animal reproductive technologies Genetically modified organisms

4 12 3 3 7

1.5 4.6 1.1 1.1 2.7


Techniques commonly used

Fermentation Fermentation Monoclonal antibody, DNA markers Fermentation Molecular Monoclonal Cell manipulations RDNA


Source: Compendium: Biotechnology Research in the Philippines, 1997 as cited in Halos, S. 2000. Agricultural Biotechnology Research in the Philippines: The Need for Strategic Approach. PIDS Discussion Paper 2000-17. 1 Includes 9 additional projects (mango, coconut, rice, carabao, microbes, zooxanthellae, tuna) done at IPB, Philippine Coconut Authority, Philrice, Microbiology and Biotechnology Institute, Marine Science Institute and BIOTECH) not listed above.


Biotech... From page 3

that use modern biotechnology techniques such as genetic engineering which, by nature, are costly to implement. Dr. Halos said that research using microbial and plant tissue culture techniques are several times cheaper compared with the reagents needed for DNA manipulation. This could explain why most studies conducted in the past two decades mostly focus on those that use fermentation and tissue culture techniques. Dr. Leo Sebastian of PhilRice also cited the expensive cost of supplies and equipment, and the inadequate facilities and infrastructure support as factors that contribute to the slow pace of biotechnology development in the country. In terms of human resources, there is the problem of the lack of a critical mass of highly trained and updated researchers. Majority of the local researchers do not have the necessary expertise in molecular biology, which is the foundation of modern biotechnology. Moreover, not enough incentives and opportunities are given to local researchers and scientists. For one thing, government researchers are receiving low salaries and poor benefits. Thus, students are discouraged from considering careers in the scientific field. Despite these difficulties, however, the productivity of the agricultural biotechnology community in the past two decades may still be considered as noteworthy. Local research institutions have successfully developed a number of biotechnology products in the face of limited funding, poor infrastructure support and inadequate facilities. For instance, BIOTECH has developed 14 technologies for commer-

May - June 2000


cialization. These include, among others, biofertilizers for legumes, rice and corn; bio-insecticides (one effective against mosquitoes and the other against corn borer and diamondback moth in cabbage); plant growth hormones; feed additives; and improved yeast strains for higher alcohol production. Nine technologies were awarded patents and seven more have patents pending (Halos 2000). The IPB, on the other hand, successfully developed the first Philippinebred hybrid papaya that is resistant to the papaya ringspot virus. The IPB is currently developing by genetic engineering other crop varieties such as those for banana and corn that have better resistance against major pests or viruses.

Developments in western countries Compared to the Philippines where modern biotechnology has yet to take off, products of genetic engineering—known as transgenic crops or genetically modified foodstuffs—are now widely cultivated and consumed in western countries such as the United States.

In her paper “State of Agricultural Biotechnology: Developments in Western Countries” which she presented during the PIDS-BAR forum, Dr. Catherine L. Ives, director of the Agricultural Biotechnology Support Project, Institute of International Agriculture at Michigan State University, noted that the global acreage of transgenic crops has more than tripled in the past three years, increasing to 42 percent between 1998 and 1999 alone. The total commercial acres planted with transgenic crops worldwide totaled 98.6 million in 1999 and these are mostly in the US, Argentina, Canada and China. These figures indicate that the adoption rate of these crops by the farmers has been high— in fact, at a rate greater than any other technology in the history of agriculture (Langridge 1999 as cited by Halos 2000). Farmers who have planted transgenic crops reported an overall increased profitability resulting from the multiple benefits of these crops. Among the benefits reported from pest-protected crops include (a) increased yields, (b) decreased use and

The Institute of Plant Breeding was able to successfully develop the first Philippinebred hybrid papaya that is resistant to the papaya ringspot virus.


May - June 2000


dependency on pesticides, thereby resulting in lower production cost, (c) avoidance of risks from pesticide use for farmers and consumers, and (d) reduced environmental pollution. As for consumers, Dr. Ives observed that in the US, there is relatively little public outcry regarding the use of modern biotechnology. In a survey conducted, two-thirds of US consumers indicated willingness to purchase food crops developed through biotechnology while a few were aware of the technology and only a third said that they have heard about it. The use of transgenic crops, according to Dr. Ives, has become the norm in the US and its acceptance is not an issue.

population of nontarget, beneficial organisms.

Dr. Catherine Ives presents the status of genetically

Given these biological, health and environmental issues, a number of environmental and consumer groups are calling for a global moratorium on GM food products. This anti-GMO campaign is very strong in Europe especially since the outbreak of the mad cow disease in late 1999, killing many people. Reports say that the epidemic was caused by an agricultural innovation, which is feeding dead cows to live cows. The disease was determined to be transmissible through such feed.

modified products in the United States and Europe while noting that the global acreage of transgenic crops has tripled in the past three years.

Is the situation the same in other countries like the Philippines? Is biosafety an issue here? What are some of the issues being raised against the products of modern biotechnology?

Issues Biosafety Just like in any other cutting edge technology, the issue of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), especially the genetically modified food crops, has raised controversy and sparked animated debates among certain groups. Critics, for instance, note that genetically modified food crops are said to be potentially dangerous to humans, animals and the environment. Scientists warning about their potential risks say that genetic modification is crude, inexact and unpredictable, and therefore, inherently dangerous. Their widespread use, according to this group, could cause the following adverse effects: 1. Possible allergenecity and toxicity – Genetically modified (GM)

plants often contain a gene or DNA sequence from nonfood organisms. This foreign gene produces a protein that could be toxic or allergenic to humans. 2. Creation of superweeds – GM plants may transfer their foreign gene to weed species conferring resistance to the weed thus making it more difficult to eradicate. 3. Creation of new human, crop plants, and animal pathogens – A GM plant containing an antibiotic resistance gene may transfer this gene to a microbe in the wild and eventually into human pathogens. 4. Possible creation of Bt resistant insects – Bt crops (crops modified with genes from Baccillus thuringiensis to produce toxins for resistance to insect pests) may promote the selection of insects resistant to Bt that can no longer be controlled by insecticides. 5. Possible deleterious effects of pesticide on nontarget, beneficial organisms – Bt crops may wipe out the

Amidst this controversy, there is heightened public awareness in the Philippines about the safety of genetically engineered plant crops for human consumption especially with the surge in the market of imported frozen meat, fresh vegetables and fruits that are reported to be transgenic. The rising cases of death, poisoning, cancer and other diseases reported in some parts of the world that were believed to be a result of consuming transgenic crops has made the public re-think about the safety of genetically engineered crops. There was a foreign-funded group, for instance, that tried to block the field-testing of Bt corn in General Santos City. The safety of Bt rice, which is currently being tested by IRRI, is also being questioned. In view of these and to give assurance to the public, it is therefore imperative to map out a set of regulatory measures regarding the use, production and importation of products derived from transgenic crops as well as labeling requirements and scientific protocol. This is to ensure that to page 6



Creating opportunities through agri-biotechnology*

From page 5

transgenic crops and all other biotechnology products containing GMOs are safe to humans and the environment. The government should likewise consider adopting mandatory labeling of food products, as consumers would feel safer if they are informed which contain transgenic ingredients. This would also arrest the public fear about GMOs. To ensure that foodstuffs containing GMOs that enter the country are safe for human consumption, pre-market safety testing could be implemented. Dr. Padolina pointed out that these materials should be tested first for the presence of harmful substances or organisms before they are sold to consumers. As the old saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure�. There are many tools through biotechnology that will enable rapid, sensitive and accurate tests on these materials to determine their safety.

Intellectual property rights The development of new products and processes through biotechnology is an intellectual endeavor and therefore subject to intellectual property rights (IPR). Forms of traditional IPR systems used to protect biotech products include patents, plant breeder’s rights, trade secrets and trademarks. Owners of proprietary materials or processes have imposed restrictions on their use. Researchers and scientists should thus have a clear knowledge of the legal conditions regarding the use of their intellectual endeavors. Dr. Halos noted that it is necessary for research centers to develop a system that ensures the fulfillment of their obligations in accordance with the materials transfer agreement

May - June 2000


by Senator Rodolfo G. Biazon**


am the Chairman of the Senate Committees on National Defense and Security and on Urban Planning, Housing and Resettlement. I am also the Vice-Chair of the Congressional Oversight Committee on Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization. So, why am I here? In 1975, I took up a course on amphibious warfare in the United States. Aside from studying the effects of nuclear weapons and military tactics, the course also focused on the effects of conflicts all over the world throughout history. In one of the group discussions on the effects of conflicts and population explosion, we discussed what could be done through genetic engineering. Genetic engineering was new then, an offspring of biotechnology. At that time, we were considering rice grain the size of a fist, chicken the size of an ostrich, pig the size of a rhino or cow the size of an elephant. The soldiers present in that discussion were looking at food or the lack of it as the source of conflict. Being chairman of the Committee on Urban Planning, Housing and

* Opening remarks delivered during the PIDS-BAR forum on Agricultural Biotechnology, 26 June 2000, Makati City ** Senator, 11th Congress, Republic of the Philippines.

Resettlement in the Senate, I try to look into the sources or the reasons why there is a burgeoning population in the cities. Thirty-five years ago, with a population of only 35 million, only about 30 percent of the Filipinos lived in the cities. Today, there are about 56 percent of the population who stay in the urban areas. Thirty-five years ago, too, the average size of a farm available to a subsistence family ranged from 3.2 to 3.3 hectares. Today with 79 million Filipinos, we have 1.1 to 1.2 hectares of farm size available to a subsistence family of six. If a family continues to adopt traditional farming methods, that 1.1 hectare of land cannot support the family. Thus, there is no option for said family but to migrate to urban areas. In Metro Manila and in Calabarzon, the registered population growth is 3.4 to 3.6 percent while the national average is only 2.3 percent. In Negros Oriental, the population growth is registered at 1.8 percent, making the land there too small to support a farmer family. Shrinking land and diminishing water sources are affecting the farmers, making them either vulnerable to rebel movement or enticing them to move to Metro Manila, Calabarzon or other urbanized areas which are already overcrowded. This being the case, biotechnology or genetic engineering had posed

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(MTA) and to see to the proper dissemination of information to the staff. Another issue is the access to proprietary research materials and processes by developing countries. In most cases, advanced countries hold the patent or license to these materials. As such, they are considered private properties. IPR has been criticized as not recognizing the previous contributions of farmers to crop development. Farmers of developing countries developed many of the world’s crops through centuries of selection. Similarly, these countries do not share in either the medicinal benefits or the corporate profits that stem from their biological resources. International agreements such as the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD), which was entered into force in 1993, are trying to address these issues. CBD is the first, comprehensive global agreement among countries to promote sustainable development. Its objectives are “the conservation of biological diversity, the sustainable use of its components and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources.” Under the CBD, genetic resources are owned by sovereign nations while developing countries are entitled to share in the benefits derived from their genetic resources. The Philippines is one of the signatories of the CBD.

Private sector participation Many developing countries are still ambivalent in forging collaborative ties with multinational corporations (MNCs) to undertake biotechnology research. The prevailing image of MNCs as instruments of exploitation is still present. This is much expected considering that these are profit-oriented companies and may just be using science to monopolize the global market to page 13

May - June 2000


Points of view Agri-biotechnology and the government According to Sen. Rodolfo Biazon:

According to Dr. William Padolina:

j What is the present global use of biotechnology? Is this being used as a political tool by developed countries to the detriment of underdeveloped farmers? How come it is cheaper for us to buy corn from Australia or Texas than use our corn grown in Cotabato? There are so many reasons, of course, like access to credit, infrastructure, transportation, and others. But I am looking at the question of competitiveness. I think that the product of R&D biotechnology should be made available to everyone. Perhaps what should be left alone is how we manage inputs and the means to production but biotechnological products should be made free to everyone.

j There should be an improvement in agriculture and chemical engineering courses such that their curricula shall have more biotechnology content. The bottomline is that we don’t have people who know the works of biochemical engineering. We need to retool our chemical engineers so that they will have some expertise.

j Because countries have to compete in terms of R&D with other developed countries, is the Philippine government addressing this issue properly? In this regard, there are questions: How much is the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) budget and where is it spent? Is 85 percent for personnel salary? Is 4 percent dedicated to R&D? Is the R&D product put into mainstream or is it allowed to sleep somewhere? How much cooperative effort is there between the DOST and the Department of Agriculture (DA)? Who determines which direction should the effort on R&D go? Is it the DOST or the DA?

to page 15

j There is a sense of uncertainty brought about by very vocal opposition groups against the products of agri-biotechnology which makes potential investors a little afraid. If you are an investor, you would think twice: Why should I get into this kind of market when I have other alternatives? At one time or another, we also see a proposed resolution banning the practice of biotechnology, as though science is a criminal activity in the Philippines. In fact, one Senate bill proposed a penalty on whoever will practice biotechnology. I’m glad, though, that more reasonable minds intervened and the bill has not progressed to the Senate floor. j Very often, I feel that when it comes to development deficiency, technology has been and is being used as a scapegoat. In other words, whenever there is a deficiency in rice production, one blames technology. When there is a deficiency in corn production, again, one blames technology. But actually, there

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Introducing the GIS:

A new instrument in analyzing and presenting socioeconomic data


ommunication experts note that visual, rather than textual and vocal, information tend to be absorbed better by and to register longer in the human mind.

From the handouts on presentation skills distributed by Guthrie Jensen Consultants.

The GIS is an automated, internet-based and user-friendly database system that provides a unique way of viewing and analyzing spatial data by presenting them in a geographical format. Full color maps based on corresponding color codes are used to reveal patterns and relationships, thereby allowing users of data to view information in a new perspective.

percent for the “showing alone” method. 1

Through the years, the Institute has compiled a database on selected socioeconomic indicators for various govBased on this knowledge and erning levels in the Philippines. With prodded by the increasing demand by the use of the GIS’ color-coded maps, national and local decisionmakers for it is able to present these indicators data and information having a spatial (Box 1) in a manner that immediately dimension, the PIDS has recently shows how regions and provinces are adopted the use of the Geographic In- faring in terms of their socioeconomic formation Systems (GIS) in doing and status. Likewise, the maps provide an presenting socioeconomic analyses at easy way of comparing and analyzing the national, regional, provincial and the socioeconomic performance of very soon, municipal/barangay levels these units, thereby serving as inputs in the country. in determining the needs of the regions and provinces and the responses required to address said presentations easily catch the interest and attention of the audineeds.

For instance, the statistics reveal that during the delivery of a presentation or briefing, about 55 percent of the visual information/data shown, such as charts and illustrations, are absorbed by the brain while only about 7 percent of the textual information associated with words and 38 percent of vocal information associated with sounds are assimilated. More so, in terms GIS-based of recall by methods of pre- ence because sentation, it is shown that a combination of “telling and showing” registers longer in a person’s mind with a retention rate of 65 percent even after 3 days as compared to only 10 percent for the “telling alone” method and 20


May - June 2000

of the innovative features they offer.

Color guide to performance What makes this method of analysis and presentation easily appreciated is its use of color guides to show relative levels of performance of regions/provinces vis-à-vis one another as shown in Box 2. The color green, for instance, is used to show a good performance as determined by a ratio/ statistic that is equiva-


May - June 2000


Box 1. List of indicators and sources of basic data Indicators

1. Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) Per Capita (1999) 2. Unemployment Rate (2000) 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.

Visible Underemployment Rate (2000) Population (2000) Population Density (2000) Poverty Incidence (1997) Magnitude of Poor Families (1997) Subsistence Incidence (1997) Proportion of Families with Access to Electricity (1997) 10. Proportion of Families with Access to Potable Water (1997) 11. Proportion of Families with Access to Sanitary Toilet Facilities (1997) 12. Proportion of Families with Makeshift Housing Materials (1997) 13. Infant Mortality Rate (1998) 14. Prevalence of Malnutrition among 0-5 yr old Children (1998) 15. Functional Literacy (1994) 16. NEAT Performance (1998-1999) 17. NSAT Performance (1997-1998) 18. Cohort Survival Rate Elementary Level (SY 1997-1998) Secondary Level (SY1997-1998) 19. Drop-Out Rate (1999-2000) 20. Participation Rate (1999-2000) 21. Paved Road Density(1999) 22. Total Road Density (1999) 23. Internal Revenue Allotment Per Capita (2000) 24. Classification of Province by Income Class (As of July 1, 1996) 25. Average Monthly Crime Rate (2000) 26. Soil Erosion Rate (1991)

27. Number of Persons Per Financial Institution (1999) 28. Number of Persons Per Bank (1999) 29. Number of Persons Per Commercial Bank (1999) 30. Number of Persons Per Thrift Bank (1999) 31. Number of Persons Per Rural Bank (1999)

Sources of basic data

GRDP 1997-1999 Economics and Social Statistics Office, National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) Labor Force Survey, Income and Employment Statistics Division (IESD), Household Statistics Department, National Statistics Office (NSO) Labor Force Survey, IESD, Household Statistics Department, NSO Preliminary Results of the 2000 Census of Population and Housing, NSO Preliminary Results of the 2000 Census of Population and Housing, NSO Family Income and Expenditures Survey (FIES) 1997, NSO FIES 1997, NSO FIES 1997, NSO FIES 1997, NSO FIES 1997, NSO FIES 1997, NSO FIES 1997, NSO 1998 National Demographic Survey, NSO Food Consumption Survey, FNRI, DOST 1994 Functional Literacy, Education and Mass Media Survey, DECS-NSO National Educational Training and Research Center (NETRC), Department of Education, Culture and Sports (DECS) NETRC, DECS Research and Statistics Division, Office of Planning Service, DECS Research and Statistics Division, Office of Planning Service, DECS Research and Statistics Division, Office of Planning Service, DECS Research and Statistics Division, Office of Planning Service, DECS Research Division, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Research Division, DPWH Regional Operations and Coordination Services (ROCS), Department of Budget and Management (DBM) Department of Finance (DOF) Directorate for Investigation and Detective Management, Philippine National Police (PNP) Crop Development and Soils Conservation Framework, Agricultural Land Management and Evaluation Division (ALMED), Bureau of Soils and Water Management Supervisory Reports and Studies Office, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Supervisory Reports and Studies Office, BSP Supervisory Reports and Studies Office, BSP Supervisory Reports and Studies Office, BSP Supervisory Reports and Studies Office, BSP

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May - June 2000


Box 2. Color guide vis-Ă -vis performance Indicators

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18.



22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32.

GRDP Per Capita, 1999 (11,948) Unemployment Rate, 2000 (11.10) Underemployment Rate, 2000 (10.20) Population, 2000 (75.3 million) Population Density, 2000 (251.4) Poverty Incidence, 1997 (31.8) Magnitude of Poor Families, 1997 (4,511,151)* Subsistence Incidence, 1997 (16.20) Proportion of Families with Access to Electricity, 1997 (70.36) Proportion of Families with Access to Potable Water, 1997 (76.88) Proportion of Families with Access to Sanitary Toilet Facilities, 1997 (76.32) Proportion of Families with Makeshift Housing Materials, 1997 (1.52) Infant Mortality Rate, 1998 (36.00) Prevalence of Malnutrition among 0-5 year-old Children, 1998 (9.20) Functional Literacy Rate, 1994 (83.79) NEAT Performance, 1998-1999 (50.8) NSAT Performance, 1997-1998 (46.12) Cohort Survival Rate, SY 1997-1998 Elementary Level (68.92) Secondary Level (71.36) Drop-Out Rate, 1999-2000 Elementary Level (9.38) Secondary Level (13.02) Participation Rate, 1999-2000 Elementary Level (97.0) Secondary Level (65.4) Paved Road Density, 1999 (0.10) Total Road Density, 1999 (0.666) Internal Revenue Allotment Per Capita, 2000 (1,556.2) Classification of Provinces by Income Class, 1996** Average Monthly Crime Rate, 2000 (9.51) Soil Erosion Rate, 1991 (76.24) Number of Persons Per Financial Institution, 1999 (3,947.03) Number of Persons Per Bank, 1999 (9,864.98) Number of Persons Per Commercial Bank, 1999 (19,525.4) Number of Persons Per Rural Bank, 1999 (42,679.32) Number of Persons Per Thrift Bank, 1999 (50,932.39)

Note: Numbers in parentheses are national averages. * Total number of poor families ** No figure for Philippines

Dark green


Light red


20,136 and higher 0.01-6.70 0.01-5.40

11,949-20,135 6.80-11.10 5.50-10.20

7,971-11,948 11.20-19.50 10.30-20.00

0-7,970 19.60-27.90 20.10-29.80

0.01-16.95 0-12,936 0.01-8.25

16.96-31.80 12,937-33,483 8.26-16.20

31.81-50.50 33,484-62,248 16.21-31.95

50.51-100.00 62,249-500,000 31.96-100.00













0.01-0.81 0-29.8

0.82-1.52 29.90-36.00

1.53-5.78 36.10-48.40

5.79-20.00 48.50-60.80

0.01-5.35 90.06-100.00 59.97-100.00 52.65-100.00

5.36-9.20 83.80-90.05 49.19-59.96 46.13-52.64

9.21-13.90 65.95-83.79 43.70-49.18 40.18-46.12

13.91-20.00 0.01-65.94 0.01-43.69 0.01-40.17

84.53-200.00 84.23-200.00

68.93-84.52 71.37-84.22

48.04-68.92 58.95-71.36

0.01-48.03 0.01-58.94

0-6.96 0-10.83

6.97-9.40 10.84-13.00

9.41-16.52 13.01-18.27

16.53-23.70 18.28-100.00

98.6-100.00 72.9-100.00 1.614-5.000 5.126-10.000

97.1-98.5 65.5-72.8 0.101-1.613 0.666-5.125

94.7-97.0 48.7-65.4 0.053-0.100 0.418-0.665

0-94.6 0-48.6 0.01-0.052 0.01-0.417









0.01-5.62 0.01-62.80

5.63-9.51 62.81-76.24

9.52-35.96 76.25-84.56

35.97-62.41 84.57-100.00

0.01-2,814.76 0.01-6880.50

2,814.77-3,947.03 6,880.51-9,864.98

3,947.04-10,667.96 9,864.99-29,830.22

10,667.97-17,388.89 29,830.23-49,795.45














lent to or better than the national average. The color red, on the other hand, is used to denote a performance that is worse than the national average. Moreover, a darker shade is used to indicate a relatively better (dark green) or relatively worse (dark red) performance of the regions/provinces concerned.

Briefings for policymakers First introduced to the public during the Institute’s Research Fair in


September 1999, the GIS-based socioeconomic profile of the Philippines was then presented before policymakers in both houses of Congress in January and February 2000. At the Lower House, the presentation elicited a number of appreciative responses from the congressmen in attendance who immediately reacted to the socioeconomic situations in their respective districts as shown in the color-coded mapping. Thereupon, the representatives suggested that more indicators could be

Figure 1. Poverty incidence, Philippines, 1997

May - June 2000

added in the analysis which would be very helpful during budget deliberations of various government implementing agencies. The same reactions were drawn from the technical staffs in the Senate who likewise suggested the addition of other variables that could help in doing further analysis. In response, the Institute’s resource presentor and Senior Research to page 12



Consultations at the local level

GIS... From page 11

Fellow in charge of the GIS project, Dr. Celia Reyes, assured the legislators and their staffs that the Institute is currently still building up its database and therefore welcomes suggestions on variables that may be added. At the same time, she expressed her optimism that the project team will soon be able to also include disaggregated data for the various indicators at the municipal and barangay levels.

The Institute also launched a series of regional visits to present before various groups and validate the data for the GIS-based socioeconomic indicators. The first in the series was held in Baguio City in early May 2000 in collaboration with the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) office of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA). Another one is being planned for the second half of the year in Iloilo City in Region 6. During the seminar-discussion held with representatives of various

Figure 2. Poverty incidence, CAR, 1997

figure 2

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government agencies, local government units (LGUs), nongovernment organizations, research institutions and private business sector in the CAR, a GIS-based profile of the Philippines in terms of selected socioeconomic indicators with special emphasis on the situation in various provinces of the CAR, was presented. Some of the indicators presented were on poverty incidence for the entire Philippines (Figure 1) and for the different provinces of the CAR (Figure 2) which showed, respectively, that the CAR (in red as a whole) to page 14


Biotech... From page 7

for seeds, foods and medical products. Moreover, given the biosafety issues raised against genetically engineered substances and plant crops, some of which were “invented� by multinational corporations, some sectors claim that there is reason to doubt their sincerity in eliminating hunger, curing diseases and improving public health. Dr. Randy Hautea, Director of the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech ApplicationsSoutheast Asia Center (ISAAA SEAsia Center), pointed out, however, that governments should see the advantages in public and private sector collaboration. In particular, he cites the benefits in sharing new and superior, often proprietary, technologies from the private sector in developed countries to the public sector in developing countries. He added that a key factor to the success of industrial countries in agricultural research is their welcoming of investments in research from both the public and private sectors. In contrast, developing countries have only relied on public sector support, its collaboration with international organizations, and the support from national governments. In recent years, however, particularly from 1989 to 1997, the official development assistance (ODA) to agriculture has declined by as much as 50 percent and national governments have provided less support to agriculture in developing countries. Thereupon, the traditional sources of support for R&D had even diminished In a related note, the need to correct the public image of private sector as an instrument of exploitation was emphasized by Dr. Padolina. The private sector should be regarded as both a resource and a partner in develop-


ment. However, the task of image correction must be undertaken mainly by the private sector itself, especially the multinationals. To do this, it must be transparent in addressing public concerns in its research works.

Prospects of modern biotechnology Modern biotechnology, according to Dr. Padolina, must not be viewed as a silver bullet that will provide the miracle solution to all the problems in Philippine agriculture. Rather, it must be viewed as an array of tools that has to be used in combination with other time-tested techniques in agricultural research. As a tool, it must therefore be mainstreamed with the major directions of the country’s research program and developed in harmony with the major needs for agricultural development. Thus, biotechnology has a specific role to play in the following areas:

May - June 2000

1. Varietal improvement. Successes have been achieved in creating improved plant varieties through genetic manipulation. For the Philippines, however, there is a need to draw up a priority list of Philippine crops that may be improved using genetic manipulation. The country cannot simply afford to produce transgenic lines for all crops as the costs will be prohibitive. 2. Diagnostics and prevention of plant and animal diseases. There are at present new tools based on molecular biology which are more sensitive and specific in diagnosing certain diseases and controlling certain pests. New, cheaper and more effective vacines for animal diseases have been produced due to progress in immunology. 3. Biomass and waste processing. To make use of agricultural wastes, bioto page 16

Three bright minds meet: Prof. Solita Monsod (University of the Philippines School of Economics), Dr. William Padolina (International Rice Research Institute), and Dr. Eliseo Ponce (Bureau of Agricultural Research) discuss some salient points on agri-biotechnology during a break in the forum.





From page 1

From page 12

ders come into the scene as new technologies and discoveries promising to bring about greater agricultural productivity and product diversity are made and presented. The recent breakthroughs in modern agricultural biotechnology field, specially in terms of genetically modified organisms (GMO) like corn requiring less pesticide, or virus-protected potato or tomato with better processing properties, are such examples.

had a worse incidence of poverty (42.5 percent) vis-à-vis the national average of 31.8 percent and that the CAR provinces of Abra, Ifugao and Mountain Province were among the worst as they compare badly with the national average.

A number of countries have already adopted these modern technologies and are using their outputs. Still, though, there are sensitive issues attached to the use of modern biotechnology and its products that make others wary of their application. Our main feature in this DRN issue outlines some of them. The article likewise looks into the Philippine situation and notes the fact that despite the country’s being one of the first Asian nations to establish a biotechnology research and development (R&D) program, it has been quite slow in harnessing the tools of biotechnology, especially in the area of varietal improvement. Why this is so often becomes a bone of contention among policymakers and researchers. Former Philippine Science and Technology Secretary Dr. William Padolina laments the fact that "…technology has been used as a scapegoat for development deficiency.” That when something has not been achieved, the lack and/ or inadequacy of technology is blamed. We all know, of course, that there are many other reasons but fingerpointing will not and never let us get anywhere. The important thing is for all the sectors concerned to put their acts together and "whip into shape" our S&T program. Hopefully, in the end, the products of such program will not only be born out of sheer necessity but also out of vision and enlightened direction. DRN

The full texts of recent Development Research News (DRN) issues may be accessed at:

It was also learned during the open forum that there were other government agencies, research and educational institutions, and LGUs in the region which have launched GIS initiatives in the past, albeit focusing on different sets of variables such as physical/natural resource characteristics, environmental indicators and others. Unfortunately, most of these initiatives were not able to be sustained due to lack of funding or institutional problems. In particular, some initiatives simply stopped upon termination of certain projects which provided funding for these initiatives. Moreover, most of these GIS projects were not able to do overlays of indicators for the purpose of providing a broader picture of the situation in certain areas since the coordinates being used by the various projects were not consistent with one another. In later discussions with representatives from these agencies concerned, a consensus was formed wherein these agencies suggested that the Institute should actively involve itself in two areas. One is in taking the lead in sponsoring and coordinating a nationwide gathering of all agencies and institutions with past and present GIS initiatives and see what problems exist in the implementation and maintenance of GIS initiatives. In this regard, the identification and designation of agencies which could be assigned to handle specific tasks to address some of the exist-

May - June 2000

ing problems may be made. And two is in doing the lead role of maintaining key indicators/variables on a macro level while at the same time providing links to more specific indicators to be maintained by other agencies and institutions. For this to succeed, though, there is a need to set national standards for base maps. It was mentioned that an association of agencies/institutions was previously set up to look into this concern but such association has been inactive for sometime now. The Institute may perhaps help in the reactivation of such association. Finally, the visit to CAR also provided an opportunity for the PIDS team to touchbase with various LGUs and agencies that may have disaggregated data in the municipal/barangay levels for certain variables like municipal infrastructure. At the same time, meetings with regional offices of agencies like the Department of Education, Culture and Sports (DECS) enabled the Institute to validate some of its provincial data regarding the National Entrance Admission Test (NEAT) and National Secondary Admission Test (NSAT) scores.

Building the infrastructure for research On the whole, what the GIS provides is a more enhanced way of analyzing and presenting data and information. It facilitates a grasp of the implications of figures and statistics and the understanding of patterns and relationships through clear and simple color-coded visuals. The Institute’s use of the GIS in establishing an automated and online database system for research is in line with its mandate to assist in the functions of planning and policymaking. In many ways, it serves as one of the Institute’s contributions to the building up of the infrastructure for research in the Philippines. JPTL


Opportunities... From page 6

a hope and, at the same time, some challenges. These are in the improvement of the farmers’ yield and in the provision of more affordable and nutritious food crops for the poor. These developments, however, should overcome the restrictive effects of commercialization and monopoly so that the products of biotechnology research and development (R&D) can benefit all of mankind. Farmers from the poor and underdeveloped countries do not only have to deal with comparatively higher cost of

May - June 2000


means and inputs to production but are also deprived of access to biotechnological tools that are already available to richer and more developed countries, institutions and business sectors. What should then be the role of the government in biotechnology? It must take the role of spreading the benefits of the products of R&D and should not stifle private initiatives. It must not allow monopoly of biotechnology R&D by making sure that the outputs of such initiatives are accessible to more people. Thus, the government should adopt policies that would allow access to the tools and products of biotechnology R&D. And with the advancements in biotechnology, opportunities for a better life may be created.

A number of people would like to change society through the housing committee in the senate. There are many reasons why families are being driven out of their farms. But one major reason is because their little farms can no longer support the family. Through R&D biotechnology, we can hopefully coax more food out of that piece of land so that they may not replace the farm with the poverty of the cities. DRN

Vol. XVIII No. 3

May - June 2000

Editorial Board Dr. Mario B. Lamberte President

Views... From page 7

(Continuation) Sen. Biazon: Or is it the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)? j With the little resource available to us, the government must decide on the direction of where that scarce resource should be placed. If it is food, then let it be food. But we have to be properly structured so as to determine priorities in the use of our little resources. j j j j j

(Continuation) Dr. Padolina: are 10,000 other elements in the equation which do not work. For example, we have always been told that many Thais get their graduate degrees from UP Los Baños. They then use the same technology we teach them in their country and it works for them. Thus, it is clear that there are some elements in the equation where we do not invest in or where attention is not

properly put in. As such, no matter how hard we push for technology, it’s not just going to work. Technology is necessary but it is not sufficient. Without credit and infrastructure, among other things, nothing is going to happen. j In the case of agricultural research, at least when I was still at the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), only 10 percent of the funds for agricultural research was in my office. The 90 percent was somewhere else. Because of this, it is not fair to blame "failure" alone to the 10 percent within the control of the DOST. There is really a problem in governance but we are optimistic that with the new structure that is being put in place, we will be able to bring in the required convergence and coordination. j Lastly, inspite of the MediumTerm Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP) and our department's resources, we did not know where to put the priority. Why? Because the policy was to allow the market forces to determine the priority of our development. The government left it to the private sector and the market forces to determine the priority areas and select niches and directions. DRN

Mr. Mario C. Feranil Acting Vice-President and Director for Project Services and Development Ms. Jennifer P.T. Liguton Director for Research Information Ms. Andrea S. Agcaoili Director for Operations and Finance Atty. Roque A. Sorioso Legal Consultant

Staff Jennifer P.T. Liguton Editor-in-Chief Genna J. Estrabon Issue Editor Sheila V. Siar, Liza P. Sonico Jane C. Alcantara and Edwin S. Martin Contributing Editors Valentina V. Tolentino and Rossana P. Cleofas Exchange Delia S. Romero, Galicano A. Godes, Necita Z. Aquino and Federico D. Ulzame Circulation and Subscription Genna J. Estrabon Layout and Design


Biotech... From page 13

technology could be used to transform and process them into food, feed, energy, and chemicals, thereby adding value to these byproducts. 4. Biosecurity. It is necessary for the government to ensure that all consumables entering the country, whether fresh, frozen or processed food products, are safe for human consumption. There are biotechnology tools that can enable the rapid, sensitive and accurate testing of these food materials to determine their safety. 5. Product standards. With the establishment of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the elimination of trade barriers, the setting up of product standards becomes crucial for the Philippines to promote and maintain the competitiveness of its exportable goods. The scientific basis for monitoring compliance with product standards involves procedures for laboratory analysis to assess, with precision and accuracy, the quality and safety of the products. A number of highly accurate and precise analytical procedures are now available and used in many countries for assessing product quality and monitoring compliance with global standards. Meanwhile, aside from increased investments, certain requisites must be present to accelerate the biotechnology R&D program in the country. One of these requisites, as emphasized by Dr. Padolina, is the critical mass of highly trained human resources in the natural and social sciences that will undertake R&D activities. To do this, a massive program must be established for bright, young Filipinos who want to pursue advanced stud-

May - June 2000


ies particularly in scientific fields. They should be encouraged to select, for their thesis, research problems that are highly relevant to the needs and priorities of the agriculture sector. Dr. Padolina also noted that competent legal and regulatory systems must be installed without delay. These will not only assist the researchers in

...There is a need to promote an awareness and appreciation of modern biotechnology and its products among the public.

their work but also enhance public confidence in biotechnology including genetic engineering. The government should also be open to private sector participation in biotechnology research. The private

sector must be viewed as a partner of the public sector in national development. Collaborative undertakings between government research institutions and private research companies could prove beneficial. Of course, mechanisms should be put in place to ensure that the public good will not be sacrificed. In addition, a deeper understanding of intellectual property rights should be promoted among researchers to ensure that they are not violating any laws regarding the use of any biotechnology material or process. Lack of information will leave them in the dark in terms of their legal responsibilities, both to the owner of the technology and to their fellow researchers. Lastly, there is a need to promote an awareness and appreciation of modern biotechnology and its products among the public. This will not only hasten the adoption of new technologies derived from biotechnology but also encourage people participation in technology development. SVS

DEVELOPMENT RESEARCH NEWS is a bimonthly publication of the PHILIPPINE INSTITUTE FOR DEVELOPMENT STUDIES (PIDS). It highlights the findings and recommendations of PIDS research projects and important policy issues discussed during PIDS seminars. PIDS is a nonstock, nonprofit government research institution engaged in long-term, policy-oriented research. This publication is part of the Institute's program to disseminate information to promote the use of research findings. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Institute. Inquiries regarding any of the studies contained in this publication, or any of the PIDS papers, as well as suggestions or comments are welcome. Please address all correspondence and inquiries to: Research Information Staff Philippine Institute for Development Studies Room 304, NEDA sa Makati Building, 106 Amorsolo Street, Legaspi Village, 1229 Makati City, Philippines Telephone numbers 892-4059 and 893-5705 Telefax numbers (632) 893-9589 and 816-1091 E-mail address: Reentered as second class mail at the Makati Central Post Office on April 27, 1987. Annual subscription rates are: P200.00 for local subscribers; and US$20.00 for foreign subscribers. All rates are inclusive of mailing and handling costs. Prices may change without prior notice.

Introducing the GIS: A New Instrument in Analyzing and Presenting Socioeconomic Data  

Biotechnology defined Food security is indeed an enor- mous task today and tomorrow for the agricultural sector—a task that it must carry ou...