HomeAsia-Pacific Social Science Reviewvol. 12 no. 1 (2012)

Socio-economic Impacts, Social Inclusion, and Science-Policy Interphase: The Case of Rice Biotechnology in the Philippines

Antonio P. Contreras



The paper argues that the development of biotechnology policies in the Philippines vis-à-vis rice is enabled by structures and processes that are friendly to the furtherance of social inclusion and equity goals. This occurs in the context of attaining rice self-sufficiency amidst a globalized system, and is clearly expressed in the relative density of concepts and provisions related to participation, inclusivity and transparency in all the relevant policy instruments. However, spaces that are opened are vulnerable to a political system that has deep-seated structural flaws and a science community whose financial support from the state is limited and at the same time whose financial autonomy from vested interests is suspect. Thus, in addition to investing in research to build scientific knowledge and capacity, there should also be an investment in research on the political dynamics of the institutional domains for multi-stakeholder encounters and contestations. Further research should be done on the nature of the interplay between science, industry and policy, to determine appropriate institutional arrangements in which science-industry linkages remain robust without compromising the regulatory process, and without compromising science. In addition, it is also vital that research is conducted about the knowledge and information flows and communication pathways and their implications on policy outcomes and stakeholder positions. A deliberate effort should be done to study the processes of mythmaking on both sides of the biotechnology debate, and to clearly identify the nexus by which distortions occur, the form by which they happen, their manifestations, and the drivers that engender their emergence.