THE Negros Occidental Provincial Board (PB) is still waiting for the legal advice of the interior department on the proposed amendments to the existing anti-GMO ordinance.

The issue on genetically-modified organisms (GMO) became controversial last year after the Provincial Agriculture office seized shipments of GMO corn at the Bredco Port in Bacolod City.

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Negros Occidental Vice Governor Emilio Yulo III said the PB has already set another public hearing on the proposed amendments of the anti-GMO ordinance, while waiting for the legal advice of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

Board Member Edgardo Acuña, chair Committee on Laws and Ordinances, said their committee along with the Committee on Environment and Agriculture will facilitate the public hearing.

In September last year, Yulo said the PB will draft a new ordinance to amend the controversial GMO ordinance, after the PB agreed that some of its provisions need to be revised.

The new ordinance or the “Sustainable Agriculture Ordinance of 2010,” is authored by Board Members Edgardo Acuña, Enrique Miguel Lacson, and Nehemias Dela Cruz.

The amendments would focus on the regulations set by the National Government on products that are banned in the country, said Lacson.

He also said the new ordinance has passed first legislative reading last week and is now up for committee hearings before the committees on Laws and Agriculture.

It will undergo public hearing and will pass through two more legislative hearings. Once approved by the PB it will replace the existing anti-GMO ordinance, Lacson said.

While the new ordinance is being deliberated, the existing anti-GMO ordinance is still in effect, added Lacson.

Acuña, however, said he is not certain if the PB will approve the said proposed amendments.