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Sunday, July 19, 2009


The Network Opposed to GMOs (NO to GMOs), a nationwide movement among peasants, scientists, consumers, academe, greens, NGOs, convened today a forum on the GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) technologies that are upon us and what this means to the Philippines.

The lead presentor is an international scientist and biochemist engineer, Camilo Rodriguez-Beltran who gave a presentation on "International Trends on GM Technologies and the Modern Applications of Biotechnologies."

Beltran gave the context of GMOs globally but also situated the role that the Philippines plays with this technology in the world. He gave an overview of the current developments in such areas as GM mosquitoes, GM animals, GM bacteria and GM plants for industrial and nutritional purposes

The Philippines was the first country in Asia to allow field testing and commercialization of GM crops. Today, many farmlands; particularly in Mindanao have been planted with GM crops; mostly used as feeds. Several GM crops are now being redied as food for direct human consumption. The government is positioning the country as a GM technology exporter in this
part of the world.

Local scientists Dr. Chito Medina of MASIPAG and Dr. Emer Borromeo emphasized on this as they gave a local situation on GM technologies. Dr. Medina focused on GM Rice while Dr. Borromeo focused on GM applications in Egglant, Papaya, Peanuts and others.

Dr. Maria Rowena R. Romana-Eguia of the South East Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDC) gave a presentation on GM application in Tilapia.

Beltran emphasized that "...specific risk appear with these organisms not only because of their nature but also because of their application." He specified on latest research that has given more knowledge about the safety of these products; particularly on new knowledge in health and environmental effects of the two traits currently release in the Philippines: Insect and
herbicide resistant crops.

He noted that "knowledge on latest research is important in order to provide awareness and a starting point for discussion on the appropiateness of this technology in the context of the Philippines."

The forum was capped with a presentation by Attorney Ping Peria of the Third World Network (TWN) on "Different Strategies in Pushing GM in the Philippines" that lead to the planning session of the network on how to pursue further their campaign against GMOs in the Philippines.

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