WMSU Conducts GMO Forum, Receives Commendation from City Council
July 25, 2010

Councilor Vincent Paul Elago sponsored a Resolution recognizing the efforts of WMSU in spearheading a public symposium on “Genetically Modified Organisms and their Implications to the Halal System”.

Elago commended the university’s initiative in fostering said symposium which, according to him, will give our Muslim brothers and sisters in Islam an informed choice regarding genetically engineered products.

WMSU’s Office of the President, College of Science and Mathematics, College of Asian and Islamic Studies, College of Home Economics, and College of Agriculture, collaborated with the Southeast Asia Regional Initiatives for Community Empowerment (SEARICE), the Philippine Biosafety and Biosecurity Association (PhBBA), Western Mindanao Chapter, and the Western Mindanao Agriculture, Forestry and Resources, Research and Development Consortium (WESMARRDEC) in conducting a public symposium on “Genetically Modified Organisms and their Implications to the Halal System”.

“Genetically Modified products may not be haram but it is best to avoid them”, thus declared Mr. Jamil Hamza Alberto T. Olermo, Founder of Halal Resource Center and Technical Adviser of the Muslim Mindanao Halal Certification Board, Inc.

Genetically Modified Organisms refer to organisms whose genetic materials have been altered using genetic engineering techniques. Haram, on the other hand, refers to those things which are forbidden and prohibited by Islamic Law.

Olermo spoke on the topic “GMOs and Halal: The Position of the Halal Certification Board” at the said public symposium held at the Juanito Bruno Gymnasium, Western Mindanao State University (WMSU) last July 21.

The other topics discussed were: “GMOs and Philippine Agriculture: Risks and Adverse Effects” given by Ms. Ditdit Pelegrina, Executive Director (SEARICE); and “GMOs and the Philippine Food Industry: Developments and Trends” by Dr. Saturnina Halos.

After the talks, comments followed from the panel of reactors to include: Prof. Ali T. Yacub, Golden Crescent Peace Center Executive Director; Prof. Eddie M. Ladja, WMSU College of Asian and Islamic Studies Dean; and Ms. Maize Faith Dagapioso, representative of Katilingban para sa Kalambuan and Ateneo De Zamboanga University (ADZU) Graduate School.

An open forum concluded the program with varying questions from the more than 300 participants comprising of faculty and students from different schools in the city, like the Zamboanga State College of Marine Sciences and Technology (ZSCMST), Brent Colleges and Hospitals, Inc. (BCHI), ADZU, Universidad de Zamboanga (UZ), and WMSU. (Almar E. Villanueva, PAO-WMSU)