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GMO-FREE REGIONS & POLICY: Banning of GMO products pushed in Negros Occidental (Philippines)




                                  PART 1


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TITLE:  BANNING OF GMO PRODUCTS PUSHED

SOURCE: Sun Star, Philippines

AUTHOR: Jerome S. Galunan Jr.

URL:    http://www.sunstar.com.ph/static/bac/2007/08/29/news/banning.of.gmo.products.pushed.html

DATE:   29.08.2007

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BANNING OF GMO PRODUCTS PUSHED

THE Provincial Government of Negros Occidental has strongly pushed for the banning of the entry of Genetically Modified Organisms to protect the biodiversity and sustain the status of Negros as organic food island.

This is being strengthened through Provincial Ordinance No. 7 which institutes stringent measures towards the protection of biodiversity and the attainment of the status of the province as organic food island by banning the entry, importation, introduction, planting, growing, selling and trading of GM plants and animals within the territorial jurisdiction with penalties for violations.

Based on this ordinance, no person shall introduce or bring in any area in the province living modified organisms (LMO) including GMOs.

Furthermore, GMO experimentation and field testing is also prohibited.

According to anti-GMO groups, biotech companies can patent GMO organisms that they developed.

This in effect creates monopolies for the production of seeds or propagating stocks leading to the creation of powerful cartels that control production and distribution of these organisms, and thus dictate supply and prices at the expense of small and marginal farmers.

This leaves farmers dependent on the companies that develop the GMO for source of new planting stocks for the next crop thereby ensuring profit for biotech companies.

These would allow the farmer to save and replant seeds from GMO crop but cannot derive the benefits of the GMO without the activating chemical.

This renders the farmers dependent on the biotech companies for the supply of the proprietary chemicals.

Added to this that in the event of environmental damage caused by GMOs, small and marginal farmers are at an extreme disadvantage as they are not protected by insurance and government subsidies as their first world counterparts.



                                  PART 2

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TITLE:  HELP ENFORCE GMO BAN, NEGRENSES URGED

SOURCE: The Visayan Daily Star, Philippines

AUTHOR: Nanette Guadalquiver

URL:    http://www.visayandailystar.com/2007/August/29/topstory6.htm

DATE:   29.08.2007

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HELP ENFORCE GMO BAN, NEGRENSES URGED

The Province of Negros Occidental, together with the Negros Island Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development Foundation, is urging Negrenses to take part in the enforcement of the ban on living genetically-modified organisms in the province, a policy vital to its goal to make the island the ”Organic Food Basket of Asia.”

”We want to give notice to the whole world, to the entire country that we ban GMOs in Negros Occidental,” Aleta Nuñez of the Provincial Legal Office said at the orientation on the GMO ban ordinance at the Capitol Social Hall in Bacolod City yesterday.

GMO is an organism whose natural genetic material has been modified with synthetic material inserted into it.

Nuñez, who presented the features of Provincial Ordinance No. 007-2007, said that, for now, the important thing is to disseminate the information on the policy of Negros Occidental to prohibit living GMOs within its jurisdiction.

”The first value of this ordinance is to provide information and to insulate the island from any GMO activities,” she said.

The key LMO bans under the ordinance are: entry of living GMOs and experimentation and/or field testing related to it, as well as planting or growing and selling or trading of living GMOs.

Part of the information campaign is the installation of ”notice to the public” billboards in 30 strategic locations across the province.

Patrick Belisario, executive director of NISARD, said only patches of agriculture areas in Negros Occidental use GMOs, and these are still unverified.

With the ordinance, they are focusing on the non-entry of living GMOs for the first year.

For now, non-living GMOs, which are usually found in animal feeds, will still be allowed in the province, he said.

Living GMOs specifically banned are crops, including corn which, so far, has 23 GMO varieties.

Aside from corn, also included in the Initial Watch List are:, six varieties of cotton, three varieties of potato, two varieties of sugarbeet as well soybean 40-3-2, canola RT73, and Alfalfa Events J101 and J163.

Majority of these living GMOs have been developed by Monsanto, particularly corn, soybean, cotton, potato, sugarbeet, canola and alfalfa while other corn varieties are by Pioneer, Syngenta, and Bayar Cropscience.

”It’s no joke implementing this ban. We don’t want to be like the other provinces (which also did this), only to fail. We’re realistic so we we start with the living GMOs, those that can be easily propagated,” Belisario said.

 

PHASE-OUT

The ordinance states that all persons in Negros Occidental who have already planted living GMOs, in whatever quantity or stage at the time of the effectivity of the ban, are given the remaining growing period of 120 days from July 19, 2007, when the ordinance took effect, to completely and permanently terminate the growing of living GMOs. They will also dispose of the living GMOs harvested outside the province.

Persons engaged in planting or trading of living GMOs are also required to make full disclosure of their activity to the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist and Office of the Provincial Veterinarian.

Those who are engaged in the selling or trading of living GMOs are given 30 days to dispose of their products.


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