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Philippines Consider GE Crop Ban

Philippines Consider GE Crop Ban

August 30, 2001
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Philippines Mulls Ban On Tests, Entry Of Transgenic Crops

MANILA -- The Philippines may soon prohibit all field tests of
genetically-modified crops and ban the commercialization and entry of all
such crops and food products containing them.

In a news conference Thursday, House Representative Satur Ocampo said he
will soon be filing a bill that will effectively rid the Philippines of any
genetically-modified organism or food product containing GMO.

"Bayan Muna (Ocampo's party) is calling for an immediate halt to all
field-testing of genetically modified crops, including Bt corn, because of
the hazards they pose to human health, the environment and agriculture,"
Ocampo said.

He added that "communities and farms near test sites face real danger of
contamination produced by the bacterium Baccikus Thuringiensis from which Bt
corn is derived."

Ocampo's group and several non-governmental organizations have been strongly
opposing ongoing fielding tests of Bt corn by Monsanto Philippines, Inc., a
subsidiary of U.S. biotechnology giant Monsanto Co (MON).

Monsanto Philippines has been conducting the field tests in at least 10
sites in various parts of the country.

The genetically engineered Bt corn variety is naturally resistant to the
Asiatic corn borer.

Ocampo said he will also be filing a resolution questioning the mandate of
the National Committee on Biosafety of the Philippines to approve the field
tests.

According to Ocampo, NCBP granted approval to Monsanto to conduct the field
tests without proper consultation and approval of the local governments
concerned.

"The use of genetically modified crops will not benefit the Filipino farmer.
Not only will it increase their production costs, farming will also be
placed under the control of multinationals like Monsanto, which can dictate
what they should plant and how they should plant," Ocampo said.

-By Rhea Sandique-Carlos, Dow Jones Newswires, 63-918-9014158,
rhea.sandique-carlos@dowjones.com


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