100 signatures reached
To: Bohol Governor Arthur C. Yap, Bohol Sangguniang Panlalawigan, Department of Agriculture
Keep Bohol GMO-Free
We, a multi-stakeholder group of Bol-anons advocating for sustainable food systems, environmental conservation, sustainable development, farmers rights and the people’s right to health and a healthy and balanced ecology, affirm Bohol’s stance and commitment to be GMO-Free and assert our standing ban on any form of GMO propagation anywhere in Bohol.
We call on the Provincial Government of Bohol to:
● discontinue any support and facilitation of any field-testing, promotion, and plans of establishing GM crops cultivation, including the trading and/or commercialization, in Bohol, and instead
● strengthen Bohol’s GMO-Free policy and GMO monitoring system
● boost the promotion and development of GMO-Free organic agriculture as the flagship strategy for agricultural development in Bohol as sought for by the Provincial Ordinance No. C-2011-001 or the Bohol Organic Agriculture Code
● uphold and boost genuine participatory processes with earnest communications, consultation, and partnership with all stakeholders including organic farmers, and
● develop a systems approach in addressing food security, including the enhancement of social protection programs for small farmers and farming communities.
We also call on the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Bohol to:
● study the implementation of and duly exercise their oversight function over Bohol’s Safeguard Against GMOs ordinance and other provincial laws that support a GMO-Free Bohol, and
● strengthen regulatory policies on Bohol’s agriculture industry.
Likewise, we urge the Department of Agriculture to:
● respect Bohol’s GMO-Free policy,
● cancel any plans of GM crops propagation in Bohol
● promote RA 10068 or the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010 and protect farmers rights to seed, land, and resources, and
● uphold the constitutional right of the people to health and a healthy and balanced ecology.
Further, we support the call for a national ban on glyphosate and a national moratorium on all GMO cultivation.
Why is this important?
In our continued tracking of any GMO-permeation in Bohol, we are deeply alarmed and concerned by recent pronouncements from the top leadership of the provincial government of Bohol and the regional office of the Department of Agriculture in openly supporting and promoting GM crops, and laying out plans of establishing plantations, specifically of BT corn and golden rice, in Bohol – which, if deemed constituent to prohibited acts in Bohol’s GMO-Free Ordinance that include the rather unfortunately broad-phrased “any activity whatsoever for the propagation of or experimentation related to GMOs” in the province – if not directly violative of said ordinance, at the very least, desecrates the very intent of Bohol’s GMO-Free ordinance, that is, to protect and ensure the health of both our people and the environment from the negative threats and impacts of GMO cultivation.
The Province of Bohol has clear policies in safeguarding the health of its people and ensuring the conservation and sustainable management of its environment. And with lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, the urgent need to intensify Bohol’s agenda for food self-sufficiency, food security and nutrition must veer from grandiose industrialist agriculture solutions and should be oriented towards the development of resilient, sustainable and equitable food systems that are attuned to the local context, culture, and natural biodiversity.
Bohol’s food revolution will be ultimately Bol-anon, and it will be GMO-free.
ABOUT BOHOL's GMO-FREE POLICY
In 2003, through the combined efforts of grassroots stakeholders, civil society, non-government organizations, and the provincial government of Bohol, the province of Bohol, with the passage of Sanggunian Panlalawigan (SP) Resolution No. 2003-235, declared itself GMO-Free or free from genetically-engineered or modified organisms (GMO), or products of genetic engineering or genetic manipulation of an organism’s genome using modern biotechnology to produce transgenic plants, animals and micro-organisms with novel traits.
To further safeguard the health of Boholanos and protect the ecological integrity of Bohol from the possible disastrous ill-effects of genetically modified organisms, the SP resolution was cemented with the enforcement, shortly thereafter, of Provincial Ordinance No. 2003-010 or “The Safeguard Against GMOs”, which decrees that “no person shall conduct any laboratory or field-testing or any activity whatsoever for the propagation of or experimentation related to GMOs of any plant, animal, or microorganism in any area within the territorial jurisdiction within the Province of Bohol”.
This legal instrument, along with our sustained monitoring and proactive thwarting of attempts at introducing and allowing the growing of genetically modified (GM) crops in our province, remains a landmark achievement for Bohol, oft- cited and benchmarked by other local government units (LGUs) in their bid to prevent the introduction of GMO production in their towns and provinces.