Lawmaker moves to ban GMOs

ALLERGIES, viral and bacterial diseases and non-traceable effects on cancer are among the effects of agricultural products that contain genetically modified organisms (GMO).

With this, Rep. Rafael Mariano, (Party-list, Anakpawis) filed House Bill 6454, which seeks to ban GMO in agricultural production saying “it has potential effects on human health and environment through genetic modification.”

“Techniques such as genetic engineering are no solution for soaring food prices, hunger and poverty. Instead, locally, socially and environmentally responsible methods are the solution,” Mariano said.

Mariano cited the state policy to protect and advance the right of the people to safe poison-free agriculture, secure livelihood, balanced and healthful ecology in accordance with the harmony of nature.

“I am not against the use of science and technology in food and agriculture. On the contrary, I firmly believe that science should serve the people and society, and not just a few. But science and technological advancement should not cause harm and damage to both people and the environment,” Mariano said.

Mariano said the answer to overcome the crisis of hunger and malnutrition today lies in the structural changes on the access to land, food and productive resources and political power, combined with ecological technologies through farmer-led research and development as well as harnessing indigenous knowledge and participatory technology
development across sectors including the crucial role of women in agriculture.

Mariano said there are provincial and municipal governments in the country which have taken the initiative of establishing GMO-free zones because of the growing worldwide concern on the environmental and health impact of GMOs.

Mariano said genetic engineering involves the insertion and deletion of genes through transgenic technologies to create genetically modified organisms (GMO).

“The application of modern biotechnology to food production has resulted in debates and various related issues,” Mariano said.

The lawmaker cited Bohol, as a province declared GMO-free protecting the ecological balance of the province and the health safety of Boholanos; Oriental Mindoro and Marinduque as part of the “Organic Haven Island of MIMAROPA”, that banned the entry of GMOs in their areas; Negros Occidental which has agreed to commit to 10% island-wide organic production by the year 2010 and to the banning of GMO; and several towns in Iloilo and Davao City that have called for the suspension of planting BT eggplant, a genetically modified crop, in their areas.

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