Groups slam review of GM ban
Daily Star (Philippines), 6 July 2009
Members of the Negros Organic Agriculture Movement together with civil society groups, environmentalists and the Catholic Church expressed in a statement issued yesterday their strong opposition to the move of "mutant" Sangguniang Panlalawigan members and "ill-advised" provincial government officials to review and ultimately allow a moratorium on the GMO ban in the province.
"Banning the entry of genetically engineered or transgenic corn and other crops in the province is, for us, non negotiable," they said in a statement sent and signed by NOAM convenor Joel Alapar.
It stressed that they are against a killer amendment to the GMO ban.
"We call on Governor Zayco to stand firm in support of the ordinance and ignore the pressures of groups whose demagoguery and voracious greed for profit has aggravated the sufferings of the people," the statement said.
It added that if necessary, they are wiling to go back in the streets to protect the sanctity of the ordinance against those people who callously work for its demise.
The recent move of the Sangguniang Panglalawigan to review the Provincial Ordinance 007, series of 2007, popularly known as: "The Safeguard Against Living Genetically-Modified Organisms", is not welcome to proponents and advocates of the GMO ban in the province, the statement said.
It seems some unseen hands are working and dictating to the SP to pressure the governor to declare a moratorium on the implementation of the ordinance through an executive order, he said in a press statement.
Suspicion is also high among civil society groups, environmentalists and the Catholic church that something is being cooked up to justify the amendment and killing of the ordinance, he added.
Provincial Ordinance 007 is considered as one of the most progressive and pro-people legislative piece in history of the province because it intends to protect the rights of the consumers against unhealthy and unsafe food products caused by genetic engineering or GMO, he said.
It also safeguards the rights of the farmers against the monopolistic intention of big business corporations and protects the environment and bio-diversity of the province from possible contamination of mutant life forms, he added.
The proponents and apologists of GMO are setting forth catastrophic scenario that according to them will endanger the poultry and livestock industry, the sugar industry and the province economy in general, he said.
But little do these poultry and livestock growers know that in buying BT corn for their poultry and livestock from big business corporations, they are actually killing the corn growers and farmers in the province, and the economy as well, he said, adding that this unpatriotic act deserves condemnation.
Joining the bandwagon of conformity, are the paranoid sugar business groups that in desperation are putting their hope to GMO in reviving and restoring the good old days of the industry, which unfortunately and eventually will never happen, Alapar said.
As to the doubting SP members, he said, with exception of some who supported the ordinance, their apparent demagoguery and pious faith on GMO will surely lead them to anguish. They will be remembered in the history of the province, as "Franken" or mutant SP's, he said.
The ban on GMO is a fundamental requirement in realizing the province vision of becoming an Organic Food Bowl of the country and of the entire Asia, because GMO contamination of our crops and livestock's will definitely defeat that purpose, he said.
In the case of BT corn, contamination through cross pollination could reach up to 21 kilometers, and farther, according to Dr. Mae Wan Ho, a renowned scientist and researcher, Alapar said.
With this finding, a two or three year’s moratorium is pointless and disastrous because GMO contamination of the environment is unavoidable and its effects are irreversible, he said.*