Sato to government: Protect PH’s genetic resources

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Oriental Mindoro Rep. Josephine Ramirez Sato has underscored the need for urgent executive action to protect the country’s genetic resources against biopiracy by putting in place a stronger policy on access and benefit-sharing of Philippine genetic resources.

Genetic resources refer to genetic material of actual or potential value. Genetic material is any material of plant, animal, microbial or other origin containing functional units of heredity.

Sato, vice chairperson of the House of Representatives committee on economic affairs, said the country has the potential of becoming a global leader in the supply of plant-based raw materials for health and wellness products given its rich biodiversity.

She noted that adequate financing is imperative to protect the country’s animal and plant-based genetic resources against biopiracy.

“We need to put in place a stronger national policy to ensure that the country, especially the communities where our resources are found, will benefit from the conduct of research and development to extract active ingredients from plants with high medicinal and other commercial value,” Sato said.

Sato has filed a bill seeking to institutionalize access and benefit-sharing of Philippine genetic resources, underscoring the potential economic benefits of sustainably managing the country’s plant biodiversity.