An investigation in aid of legislation is being eyed by Negros Occidental Board Member Alain Gatuslao, in response to concerns raised by leaders of the sugar industry and stakeholders, over reports on the entry of high fructose corn syrup in the country.
“We will check existing ordinances for possible violation of the ordinance banning the entry into the province of genetically-modified organisms. If allowed by members of the Committee on Laws, we can investigate in aid of legislation,” Gatuslao said.
In 2007, the Negros Occidental Sangguniang Panlalawigan passed a landmark legislation that bans the entry of genetically-modified plants and animals in the province and imposes penalties for its violation.
All Living Modified Organisms (LMOs), defined as any living organism that possesses a novel combination of genetic material obtained through the use of modern biotechnology, brought into Negros Occidental will be seized and destroyed at the expense of the violator, the ordinance also states.
Gatuslao, who chairs the SP Committee on Laws, said that he considers the issue a “serious matter.”
Sugar planters claimed that the entry, importation and use of HFCS by beverage and food producers in the country resulted in loses of sugar industry by P10.5 billion that will result into an economic disaster if not addressed.
Roberto Cuenca, president of the Asociacion de Agricultores de La Carlota Y Pontevedra Inc., is calling for the enforcement of the provincial ordinance banning products containing genetically modified organisms from entering Negros Occidental.
Confed is urging the Sugar Regulatory Administration to execute its mandate in managing and regulating the supply of sweeteners in the country.
RJ Rojo, coordinator of Green Alert Negros, in a statement, said “all forms of GMOs should be banned in Negros Occidental as stated in Section 3 of the ordinance, which explicitly prohibits the entry, experimentation, field testing, and other purposes related to GMOs.
The provincial government should not allow the proliferation of such products since it's a gross violation to the ordinance and an insult to the landmark law.”
Rojo added that GMOs will also have a big impact to local economy, like affecting local farmers and industry.*GPB
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