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Solon files bill for botechnology center

Posted on: April 3, 2009

Solon files bill for botechnology center

By Anna Valmero
INQUIRER.net

Senator Edgardo Angara has filed Senate Bill 3139, which allows the total research and development (R&D) cost and prices of shares of stocks in biotechnology companies as tax deductible.

This bill seeks to propel the biotechnology industry in the country by offering the private sector incentives to invest in biotechnology R&D and building a biotechnology center.

At present, majority of the government’s investments in biotechnology R&D is awarded through a government corporation, Angara said in a statement.

“We need to put in place the appropriate policy environment to promote bio-industry development. This legislation aims to address the weaknesses of our system to enable the country to develop a biotechnology-based industry,” added Angara.

Through the bill, a Philippine Bio-industry Research and Development Center would be established to promote availability of suitable, innovative and competitive bio-based technologies, said Angara who chairs the Senate Committee on Science and Technology.

He noted the 21st century is the biotech century, noting the early years would pave way for convergence of agriculture and medicine with pharmaceuticals being produced by genetically engineered plants and the greater acceptance of herbal medicine.

The Philippines invested early on biotechnology but Filipino scientists face issues of local employment and “cumbersome” government accounting resulted in poor fund use.

In 1979, the Philippine government invested in biotechnology with the establishment of the National Institute of Biotechnology and Microbiology (Biotech), now known as the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology at the University of the Philippines Los Baños.

In mid-1980s, the Department of Science and Technology identified biotechnology as a priority investment area and developed the UPLB science park for business incubation.

The Department of Agriculture two years organized its leading research centers—the Philippine Rice Research Institute, Philippine Carabao Center and National Fisheries Research Institute into a network of biotechnology research centers for crops, livestock and aquatic resources, respectively.

Angara said these investments have not sufficiently fostered the growth of a biotechnology industry because of lack of policies to support research and turning them into marketable products, support for startup companies, and other incentives for industry to develop/adopt new technologies.

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