By Ric Obedencio | 06:49 PM June 26, 2023
The provincial government of Bohol has swiftly stepped into the controversy arising from the alleged entry of Genetically-Modified Organism (GMO) corn to the province.
Governor Aris Aumentado wanted that the GMO corn or Bt-corn distributed and planted here be withdrawn by the Department of Agriculture (DA).
“There have been reports of the planting and distribution of GMO corn in Bohol in violation of the Anti-GMO Ordinance. In fact, this was verbally acknowledged by a DA 7 representative during the El Nino task Force meeting held on May 12, 2023,” his unnumbered Executive Order (EO), series of 2023, he issued last week said.
Under section 1 of the said EO, the governor ordered all government offices, agencies and private individuals or entities, distribution channels and stakeholders involved in the sale, transfer for the immediate stoppage of GMO corn distribution in the field or areas where it’s intended for planting.
To carry out this order, the governor reactivated the GMO Multi-sectoral Monitoring committee thru the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA).
The governor directed OPA “to monitor the progress of the retrieval and disposal, and take all necessary legal steps to safeguard the interest of the people to maintain an ecologically balanced province.”
Provincial Ordinance No. 2013-10, prohibiting the use and planting of GMO-induced seeds in Bohol was enacted in 2013 during the incumbency of then Vice-Gov. Julius Caesar F. Herrera and the administration of then Gov. Erico B. Aumentado.
It provides that (section 3) “No person shall conduct an laboratory or field testing of an activity whatsoever for the propagation of or experimentation related to GMO of any plant, animal or microorganism in any area within the territorial jurisdiction of the Province of Bohol.”
Under section 4 of said Ordinance, it punishes any violation thereof with “a fine of not less than P5,000.00 or imprisonment not exceeding one year or both, fine and imprisonment at the discretion of the court, while juridical entities involved shall also be subject to closure.”
The Bohol Nature Conservation Society (BONACONSO) with other Organic Agriculture Advocate spearheaded the effort to stop the distribution and planting of GMO RR CORN with prohibited by local law under the ORD# 2013-010.
It said that the group is contemplating a “legal remedy to file a case against the violators.”
It added that it congratulated the governor for his political will to implement the law and the preservation of Bohol heritage.
“GMO” (genetically modified organism) has become the common term consumers and popular media use to describe foods that have been created through genetic engineering. Genetic engineering is a process that involves: • Identifying the genetic information—or “gene”—that gives an organism (plant, animal, or microorganism) a desired trait • Copying that information from the organism that has the trait • Inserting that information into the DNA of another organism1 • Then growing the new organism
The entomology of the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture showed how Bt-Corn: What It Is and How It Works.
“Bt-corn is a type of genetically modified organism, termed GMO. A GMO is a plant or animal that has been genetically modified through the addition of a small amount of genetic material from other organisms through molecular techniques. Currently, the GMOs on the market today have been given genetic traits to provide protection from pests, tolerance to pesticides, or improve its quality. Examples of GMO field crops include Bt-potatoes, Bt-corn, Bt-sweet corn, Roundup Ready soybeans, Roundup Ready Corn, and Liberty Link corn.”
“According to Entomology of the University of Kentucky: “Genetically modified foods are foods derived from GMO crops. For example, corn produced through biotechnology is being used in many familiar foods, including corn meal and tortilla chips. In addition, corn is used to make high fructose corn syrup, which is used as a sweetener in many foods such as soft drinks and baked goods. While the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) regulates genetically modified foods, it considers Bt-corn to be nutritionally equivalent to traditional corn.”
“To transform a plant into a GMO plant, the gene that produces a genetic trait of interest is identified and separated from the rest of the genetic material from a donor organism. Most organisms have thousands of genes, a single gene represents only a tiny fraction of the total genetic makeup of an organism.”
“A donor organism may be a bacterium, fungus or even another plant. In the case of Bt corn, the donor organism is a naturally occurring soil bacterium, Bacillus thuringiensis, and the gene of interest produces a protein that kills Lepidoptera larvae, in particular, European corn borer. This protein is called the Bt delta endotoxin. Growers use Bt corn as an alternative to spraying insecticides for control of European and southwestern corn borer.” (rvo)