THE Southeast Asia Regional Initiatives for Community Empowerment (Searice) claims that genetically modified organisms are safe for consumption even by Muslim community.

The production process is strictly adhered to halal standards, a university official announced.

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Marilous Elago, Dean of the College of Science and Mathematics at the Western Mindanao State University (WMSU), said this will be the interesting subject of a public forum Wednesday to be spearheaded by Searice and WMSU.

The forum, entitled “Genetically Modified Organisms and Their Implications to the Halal System” will be held at the Dr. Juanito Bruno gymnasium of WMSU.

The forum is a joint project of WMSU’s Colleges of Agriculture; Asian and Islamic Studies; Home Economics; and Science and Mathematics.

Elago said at least 500 participants from the academe, non-government organizations (NGOs), government sector, and the Muslim community, are among those attending the forum.

The public is also invited to attend the forum free of charge, Elago said.

She said resource persons and their respective topics for discussion include: International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications Center Director and Global Coordinator Dr. Randy Hautea, GMOs and the Philippine Industry: Development and Trends Searice Executive Director Ditdit Pelegrina, GMOs and Agriculture: Risks and Adverse Effects; and, Muslim Mindanao Certification Board Halal Resource and Technical Adviser Jamil Hamza Alberto Olerm, GMOs and Halal: the position of the Halal Certification Board.

Marie Faith Dagapioso, a representative of Katilingban, an NGO and the Ateneo del Zamboanga University (ADZU) School of Medicine will also present a study of GMOs during the forum Wednesday.

Golden Crescent Peace Center Executive Director Alih Yacub and WMSU College of Asian and Islamic Studies Dean Eddie Ladja will serve as the panel of reactors. (Bong Garcia)