AGRICULTURE experts and scientists Tuesday unanimously declared
that genetically-modified organisms (GMO) are safe for both
humans and animals.
However, there is still a possibility that GMO could still
cause "risks" which Dr. Nina G. Gloriani theorized
would only be "on a very low level."
Gloriani opined that there is no exact definition for "safe"
but stressed that "anything that has the affinity to thrive
with ecology would always adapt to it on a certain level and
The group that presented scientific explanations and features
of GMO in Tuesday's seminar on biotechnology and biosafety at
the Business Inn, in Bacolod City, recommended the need to modify
or revise some provisions of Provincial Ordinance 007-2007,
which bans the entry of GMO-infected agri products into the
But livestock, poultry raisers and grain growers, who were
present during the seminar, remained vehement in opposing said
ordinance. The provincial government, through the ad hoc committee,
is presently studying possibilities whether to lift or not the
ban it imposed on GMO-infected corn feeds.
Provincial Board Members Patrick Lacson and Enrique Miguel Lacson,
who chair the committees on commerce, trade and industry and
on food security, respectively, represented Gov. Isidro Zayco
in Tuesday's seminar.
Dr. Randy A. Hautea, coordinator and director for Global and
SEAsia Center, International Service for the Acquisition of
Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA), opined that those provisions,
which are not consistent with its implementation need to be
revised or modified.
"To ban the entry of any agri-product believed to be GMO-infected
is not as fair to the farmers (considering) the fact that the
issue on GMO is not only exclusive to agriculture but in ornamentals,
food production, among others, and those that has the affinity
to biodiversity. Ban per se is selective and in the case of
Negros, appears to have exclusivity, making some of the provisions
of the ordinance inconsistent, which actually needed to be revised,"
He noted that if agri products are to be banned, then a ban
on pesticides will also follow because it is as well genetically-engineered
and the farmers are the group of people who would most likely
suffer the consequence.
Findings on the studies conducted by the Department of Agriculture
(DA), also with the Pontifical Academy for Sciences, proved
that GMO is "praiseworthy for improving the lives of the
poor, especially the farmers group."
"We don't allow, as a rule of law, neither tolerate those
that has a bad effect to biodiversity," said Dr. Saturnina
Halos, chair of the Department of Agriculture Biotech Advisory
Distinctions between a GM-positive and non-GM organisms were
also presented wherein those which are positive were said to
be more cost-effective, safe for human consumption, and benefit
human health, could help the developing world, cut down on pesticide
and herbicide use, and help preserve natural habitats while
those which are negative could increase herbicide and pesticide
use, could damage non-GM farmers, have unpredictable health
risks, won't help feed the developed world, and mainly benefits
big biotechnology companies.
Non-GM corn is infested with corn borers and is contaminated
with bacteria and fungi. These fungi produce aflatoxins which
can cause or associated with liver cancer, the presentation
"This corn may have also been treated with chemical pesticides
but not protected against corn borer; and farmers are exposed
to chemical pesticides with ill-effects on human health,"