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6-Regulation: Philippine Region of Bohol declares itself GE-freezone

-------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:  Bohol GMO-free ordinance launched July 21
SOURCE: ABS-CBN Newsm Philippines
DATE:   20 Jul 2004

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Bohol GMO-free ordinance launched July 21

The landmark ordinance adopted by the provincial government prohibiting
the entry of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in Bohol will be
publicly launched on July 21 as one of the highlights of the Sandugo-Agri

On June 16 last year the Sangguniang Panlalawigan unanimously passed
Resolution 2003-235 declaring Bohol free of GMO to protect the ecological
balance of the province and health safety of Boholanos from the adverse
effects of GMOs.

The resolution was followed by Provincial Ordinance 2003-010, known as
the "Safeguard against GMOs," which enumerated the conditions against the
entry of GM plants, animals and microorganisms into the province with
corresponding peresolution and ordinance.

Bohol's legislation against GMOs is the first of its kind in the
Philippines and comes amid growing worldwide concerns about the
environmental and health impact of GMOs.

GMOs are organisms that have been modified through genetic engineering to
contain new genes from unrelated species or organisms.

One common example of GMO is a corn variety that contains a pesticidal
toxin gene from soil bacteria. The corn, known as Bt corn (after the soil
bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis) is said to kill the corn borer when it
attacks because of the presence of the Bt toxin in the modified corn
plant. There is concern that the pesticidal property of the corn plant
will make corn borer immune and more destructive to farmers over time,
and that human consumption of corn will result in adverse health effects.

Despite these concerns, the Department of Agriculture allowed the
commercialization of the Bt corn variety of Monsanto called Dekalb 818 YG
(Yieldgard) in December 2002. Other seed companies have also applied for
commercialization of their own GM varieties.

With the possibility of the country being overrun by unsafe GMOs and
containing farmer's seeds, the province of Bohol took an unprecedented
step by adopting the GMO-free legislation. This is in line with the
declaration of Bohol as the country's prime ecological tourism
destination and consistent with efforts to make Bohol a source of
organically grown farm and food products.

The GMO-free legislation placed Bohol in a unique position to tap the
growing market for organic products nationally and globally since the
absence of GMOs in the province makes it easier for farmers to turn to
organic production.

In a recent meeting of the Multisectoral GMO Monitoring Committee, a
mandate under the ordinance to oversee its implementation, committee
chairman, Gov. Erico Aumentado, expressed his strong commitment to
enforce the GMO-free legislation and program of the province. The
committee consists of representatives from government, business and civil
society sectors.

The launching of the GMO-free ordinance on July 21 will mark the start of
province-wide information and education campaign on GMOs and the
establishment of monitoring mechanisms to prevent the entry of GMO in Bohol.

The launching will commence with multisectoral march at 5 p.m. from Plaza
Rizal to the Tagbilaran port, site of Agri-Fair activities. where a
billboard declaring Bohol GMO-free will be unveiled. Similar billboards
will be put up at Bohol's main ports of entry.

Provincial leaders, including Aumentado and Herrera, will lead the
launching of the GMO-free ordinance together with representatives of
civil society and farmers' organizations.


European NGO Network on Genetic Engineering

Hartmut MEYER (Mr)
Kleine Wiese 6
D - 38116 Braunschweig

P: +49-531-5168746
F: +49-531-5168747
M: +49-162-1054755
E: coordination(*)
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