Press Release
July 17, 2010


Sen. Edgardo J. Angara today urged the Department of Health and the Department of Science and Technology to work together in harnessing the country's biotechnology potentials in order to improve the country's health care system.

"Biotechnology's application on health include researches in drugs and medicines, genetic testing, gene therapy, vaccine development, diagnostics and cloning. This will allow us to better diagnose diseases, promote the use of gene therapy, stem cell therapy and xeno-transplant to prolong human life," explained Angara, Chair of the Congressional Commission on Science and Technology and Engineering (COMSTE).

The biotechnology sector is estimated to amount for more than a third of the world's GDP. Medical and health applications of biotechnology are the largest sector worldwide, making up 12 - 14% of the GDP in key markets.

In Asia, the top four countries doing biotechnology research include Japan, India, China and Singapore. Japan's pharmaceutical market has surpassed the whole of Europe as the 2nd largest worldwide, while Singapore is the most successful of all countries in the region.

Meanwhile, China has shown potential in embryonic research, while India will shift its pharmaceutical capabilities from production of generic medicine to drug discovery. Other countries like Malaysia, Taiwan and Korea have opened attractive investment conditions for companies to do research.

The Philippines, on the other hand, is one of the world's most biologically rich countries. It ranks 3rd as a biodiversity hotspot and 1st in marine biodiversity. Of all 500 coral species studied, 488 can be found in Philippine marine waters.

"Adding to its potentials in the biotechnology R&D, the country also has plenty of resources for the manufacture of natural products, nutraceuticals [food with medicinal benefits] and potentially therapeutic natural compounds," said Angara, staunch advocate of the country's health care systems and author of many legislative reforms for the health sector.

Examples of nutraceutical products are moringa (malunggay) tea, virgin coconut oil and lagundi capsules which have begun to be introduced in the market.

News Latest News Feed