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APPROVAL: Philippine Agriculture Secretary announces withdrawal ofMON863 approval



                                 PART I
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------
TITLE:  Yap acts on GMOs
SOURCE: The Manila Times, Philippines
AUTHOR: Opinion, by Dan Mariano
URL:    http://www.manilatimes.net/national/2007/mar/28/yehey/opinion/
20070328opi2.html
DATE:   28.03.2007
--------------------------------------------------------------------------


[...]
Yap acts on GMOs

The March 21 edition of this column tackled the genetically modified
corn marketed by the multinational Monsanto, MON 863 YieldGard Rootworm.

MON 863 is corn genetically manipulated to produce its own insecticide
called "modified Cry3Bb1" that kill rootworm insects in the soil. It was
approved for local distribution by the Bureau of Plant Industry in
October 2003.

Independent scientific studies in France, however, found signs of
"hepatorenal toxicity" in Monsanto's GM corn.

According to Greenpeace, the MON 863 case is the first time that a GMO
product authorized for use as food for humans and animals was shown to
have adverse effects on internal organs. "It is a clear warning of the
inherent risks of GMOs," the environmental group added.

In a chance meeting last Friday, Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap told
this writer that he has ordered BPI to withdraw its approval for MON
863. "There are other, less controversial seeds in the market," he added.

Yap has never given this corner reason to doubt his word--and his
decision on MON 863 will probably be welcomed by Greenpeace and others.
[...]


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                                 PART II
------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------
TITLE:  Ban GMO food crops
SOURCE: The Manila Times, Philippines
AUTHOR: Editorial
URL:    http://www.manilatimes.net/national/2007/mar/23/yehey/opinion/
20070323opi1.html
DATE:   23.03.2007
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Ban GMO food crops

To help solve the problems of hunger and poverty as well as to
invigorate the economy with cheaper food products for both domestic
consumption and export, the Philippine government has approved the use,
planting and development of genetically modified food crops. The Bureau
of Plant Industry has approved for direct use as human food, animal feed
and for food-product processing 25 genetically modified food crops.
Among these are corn, soybean, sugar beet, alfalfa, potato and cotton.

The United States is the foremost exponent of GMOs. Monsanto, the
agribusiness transnational conglomerate, sells GM corn here and
throughout the world.

Since they were first introduced GMOs have been opposed by many reliable
and rigorously scientific bodies.

Even in church circles, no less than John Paul II, had warned against
failing to "resist the temptation of high productivity and profit [by
means] that work to the detriment of the respect of nature." He warned
that when farmers "forget this basic principle and become tyrants of the
earth rather than its custodians... sooner or later, the earth rebels."
Pope Benedict XVI has not taken a stand and is letting pontifical
institutes continue their evaluation work.

GMOs are a divisive issue in the Church. Bishops who wish to see hunger
and poverty immediately alleviated favor the use of GMOs. They argue
that there is a moral duty for Christians to eradicate hunger and use
available technology to do so.

Others who give the highest value to the Christian obligation to respect
the ecological balance and the Christian duty to prevent humanity's
"suicide" want GMOs to be subjected to stricter studies.

Many African and South American churchmen are driven to oppose GMOs out
of fear that these will prolong control of the world's food supply by
the rich countries and their giant corporations (like Monsanto).

The use of GM crops in poor countries would then make poor farmers even
poorer.

The present state of scientific studies about GMOs is that data are
mainly contradictory. This being the case, the most authoritative
statement about the subject from the Vatican, the 2004 Compendium of the
Social Doctrine of the Church, suggests that "it may then be appropriate
to base evaluations on the precautionary principle."

Many scientists have offered studies to show that lots of things about
GMOs demand precautionary measures. Others point out that remedial
measures should now be taken because hazardous GMO crop pollens have in
fact already infected native species. This alarm has been sounded in the
Philippines.

Earlier this month, Greenpeace and Professor Gilles Eric SÚralini, a
government expert in genetic engineering with the University of Caen in
France, held a press conference in Berlin to reveal that SÚralini's team
has discovered that Monsanto's GMO corn--MON 863--poses a direct threat to
humans. SÚralini questioned Monsanto's analyses of MON 863, which was
used as a basis for its approval. He said Monsanto's analyses do not
stand up to rigorous scrutiny. "To begin with, their statistical
protocols are highly questionable."

Greenpeace demanded the complete and immediate withdrawal of MON 863
corn from the global market and is asking governments to reassess all
the genetically engineered products they have approved.

Professor SÚralini's panel of scientists found that laboratory rats fed
with MON 863 YieldGard Rootwom displayed kidney and liver toxicity.

MON 863 is corn genetically engineered to produce its own insecticide
called "modified Cry3Bb1" to kill rootworm insects in the soil. It
contains gene coding for antibiotic resistance.

"New Analysis of a Rat Feeding Study with a Genetically Modified Maize
Reveals Signs of Hepatorenal Toxicity," the French study was published
in the scientific journal Archives of Environmental Contamination and
Toxicology (www.sprin-gerlink.com/content/1432-0703).

The European Commission (EC) granted Mosanto the license it sought to
market MON 863 for consumption by both humans and animals.

Greenpeace obtained incriminating data owing to a court case and worked
to have Professor SÚralini and his team evaluate and investigate the matter.

Our columnist, Dan Mariano, has quoted Daniel Ocampo, the Greenpeace
Southeast Asia genetic engineering campaigner, as saying: "This case is
especially significant to the Philippines right now in the light of the
Bureau of Plant Industry's claims [in mid March] that they enforce
stringent regulatory systems for the approval of GMOs."

BPI must withdraw its approval of these dangerous GMO food crops.


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