A nipa hut quitely sits amidst fields of organic rice standing witnessing hardwork and persistence of the farmers in Sitio Canaan, Barangay Crossing, Magallon, Negros Occidental. © Greenpeace/Gigie Cruz-Sy

Only a couple of decades ago, genetically modified organisms (GMO) would have been something out of science fiction. In the not so distant past, we never imagined we would find on our dinner tables strawberries with fish genes, corn with bacterial genes, and soybeans with built-in herbicides. Little did we know that such scenes would turn into reality in a dizzyingly short period of time. But this is now part of today's reality.

In the natural world, organisms develop specific desirable traits through evolution. This is usually a very slow process and driven by natural laws---not by human beings. Typically, an organism develops a color that will camouflage it from potential predators through hundreds or thousands of years of selection and adaptation. And, in the natural world, species never breed with unrelated species.

Greenpeace activists dressed to symbolize the "bul-ul", a traditional Ifugao rice guardian, carried out a protest at the Department of Agriculture in Quezon City. © Greenpeace / Joseph Agcaoili

With the advent of genetic engineering, the natural barriers between species have been broken down. Today, different species can be genetically manipulated to give rise to totally new organisms, presumably with a human-desired trait. Today, through human intervention, a fish can contain genes from a plant, and a plant can be 'shot' with genes from a bacterium. The possibilities for novel organisms are endless with this technology. They are also unpredictable and frightening.

Greenpeace is in the forefront of the campaign to oppose the release of GMOs into the environment. Greenpeace insists that because the technology is very new and imprecise, the potential ill effects on public health and on the environment are still widely unknown. The truth is no one knows for sure how these new man-made creations will affect life on planet Earth. Therefore, because there is still no scientific consensus as to long-term impact, and in accordance with the precautionary principle, it is best that no releases of GMOs into the environment be allowed.

This technology must be approached with great caution and more study! Releasing GMOs into the environment could have lasting effects that we cannot yet even imagine.

The latest updates

 

Oriental Mindoro: GMOs, Keep Out!

Blog entry by Daniel Ocampo | March 7, 2013

Last January, I was invited again in Oriental Mindoro by our local partners to help them in their protest against the plans to plant GMOs in the province despite the existing ban in the province. Going back there reminded me of the...

Making up for lost time

Blog entry by Chuck Baclagon | February 25, 2013

The pronouncement that February 25 is a working holiday is a clear indication that the significance of the first EDSA People Power Revolution is no longer in the collective consciousness of many Filipinos in recent years. I cannot...

GMO-free Mindoro fights back

Blog entry by Daniel Ocampo | January 24, 2013

Even before the year started, I was already informed that there are moves from some sectors to reintroduce GM corn in the province of Oriental Mindoro despite provincial ordinance banning its propagation. This move is coming from...

More than words...

Blog entry by Jenny Tuazon | December 31, 2012

This year was a blast in the Southeast Asian region —  and globally —  as we have achieved a lot which makes us a bit closer to the future we want: a green and peaceful planet. None of it would have been possible without the support...

GMO-free Philippines: In the catacombs of broken dreams?

Blog entry by Leonardo Avila, guest blogger | December 11, 2012 1 comment

A very significant event happened this year, that is for those who believe that farming or agriculture must not only provide healthy and abundant food for everyone but must give substantial benefits to the farmers who are the producers...

Gene scientist tells public why GMOs are unsafe

Press release | November 21, 2012 at 14:41

Quezon City — Genetically modified organisms (GMOs), such as Bt corn, Bt eggplant, and ‘golden rice’ pose significant risks to human health and the environment, a gene scientist warned today.

GMO invasion of corn and rice alarm groups

Press release | October 30, 2012 at 16:47

Cebu City – Community groups in central Philippines today raised the alarm that white corn, the staple food in most of Visayas and Mindanao, is now tainted with genetically-modified organisms (GMOs). The groups are protesting the Philippine...

GMOs declared unsafe in India, Greenpeace calls on PH to follow suit

Press release | October 22, 2012 at 17:04

Greenpeace called on the Philippine government to cancel all approvals of genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) following a landmark move in India which is expected to put a stop to all GMO experimental field trials in the sub-continent.

DA's pro-GMO stance will lead country into food crisis, Greenpeace warns

Press release | October 16, 2012 at 14:13

Unabated approvals of genetically-modified crops threaten—not enhance—food security, Greenpeace warned at today’s observance of World Food Day. The environment group is calling on the Department of Agriculture to safeguard the country’s food...

No room on our plates for ‘golden’ rice

Blog entry by Ditdit Pelegrina | October 16, 2012

On the 16th of October, the global community celebrates World Food Day – this year, with a special emphasis on the role of cooperatives in feeding the world. But even as we celebrate the noble ideal, it is important to pay heed to...

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