GREEN Alert Negros (GAN) condemns the Provincial Board (PB) on its recent action to replace Ordinance 007 that bans the genetically modified organisms (GMO) products into the province of Negros Occidental.

The PB recently crafted a new ordinance called “Sustainable Agriculture Ordinance of 2010” which Board Members Edgardo Acuña, Enrique Miguel Lacson, and Nehemias Dela Cruz had authored.

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The new ordinance was passed on first reading and is now up for committee hearings by the Committees on Laws and Agriculture.

The new ordinance aims to promote sustainable agriculture and protect biodiversity within the territorial jurisdiction of Negros Occidental by promoting co-existence of various sustainable farming systems such as between organic farming and GMO-based farming provided that any GM-crop and GM-crop derived ingredient introduced or made in the province has been given a bio-safety permit by the Bureau of Plant Industry or any other national regulatory agency and that any living modified organism (LMO) introduced into any farming system shall have been field-tested locally.

But GAN asserts that the ordinance totally rejects the very intent and purpose of the Ordinance 007 that declares Negros as an Organic Island, which put emphasis in the promotion of “organic farming or agriculture.”

“Organic farming and GMO-based farming are absolutely different and they can’t co-exist. In practice, policy, market and safety they are entirely two opposing approaches and principles. This is also in contrary to the statement of Governor Isidro Zayco during his State of the Province last year that he will maintain the vision in Negros to be an “organic food bowl”, stressed Jun-jun Mojica of GAN.

GAN also tagged the Bureau of Plan Industry, DA and other national regulatory agency to be behind this corporate control mechanisms that will advance the agenda of GMOs in the provinces.

“Once this ordinance is approved, we also fear that the Provincial Government will use GMO crop as an adaptation strategy to respond to the impacts of global climate change with short term benefits but long term impacts to farmers like debts, etc. It will also eliminate native crop varieties that can naturally adapt to such conditions,” said Mojica.

Last September 2009, GAN staged an indefinite hunger strike in front of the Provincial Capitol and urged the Provincial Government not to consider the lifting of ban on GMOs because of the pressures coming from the poultry and hog raisers.

The said hunger strike was supported by different NGOs in the Philippines, including Bishop Vicente Navarra of the Diocese of Bacolod.

“He (Bishop Navarra) made a pastoral letter asserting that the Diocese of Bacolod urges the provincial officials to desist from amending the ordinance under whatever pretenses,” said Mojica.

GAN will not stop until the vision of the Organic Island will be saved and protected against this dirty tactics of the politicians and businessmen which only aims to advance commercial profits, said Mojica.

We will also urge the Negrenses not to vote the authors of the ordinance and those supporting it in the coming May 2010 elections, noted Mojica. (GMDC)