Greenpeace statement on the ARMM government’s strong support for organic food production in Basilan

Press release - October 3, 2014
Manila, Philippines— Recently, the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao signed a memorandum of agreement pushing for more livelihood projects through organic food production in Basilan. Daniel Ocampo, Ecological Agriculture Campaigner for Greenpeace Philippines said:

“Greenpeace commends the ARMM government, under the leadership of Gov. Mujiv Hataman, for its strong support for Ecological Agriculture. Governor Hataman recently earmarked P8.5M to encourage the production of organic food products in the region.  This is a very important development in Mindanao, in light of verified cases of contamination by genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the province.

"The ARMM has shown great leadership— that with political will and good governance, ecological food production is possible and greatly beneficial to local farmers who have long advocated for safe and sustainable farming practices that work in harmony with nature, not against it.

"This move also supports the declaration of several Bangsamoro leaders and the Muslim Mindanao Halal Certification Board that recently released a statement on how GMOs cannot be certified as halal and are best to avoid (subha).

“With the Cotabato provincial government’s recent promulgation of the Provincial Organic Agriculture Code, which ensures that farmers engaged in organic agriculture are protected from contamination by chemical- based farming and the use of GMOs, it is clear that Mindanao is a leader in Ecological Agriculture- the true solution to achieve national food and nutrition security, providing Filipinos with food that pose no threat to human health and the environment, free from contamination coming from agrochemicals and risky GMOs. 

“The Philippine government should take heed and listen to the public and not allow GMOs in our own backyard. With confirmed cases of GMO corn contamination, the Department of Agriculture (DA) should ban the genetically engineered ‘Golden’ Rice that would threaten our rice diversity and farmers’ livelihood.”

“Contamination undermines farmers’ rights to plant GMO-free crops, and threatens consumers’ rights to safe food— especially for Muslims who now have to be more cautious about crops sold in their public markets that may contain GMOs.

“It is clear that the people of Mindanao are strong advocates of Ecological Agriculture, making no room for risky GMOs and chemical farming.Unfortunately, amid public opposition and despite proof that contamination is a real concern when genetically engineered crops are released into the environment, the DA continues to approve GMOs for propagation and field testing. We urge the DA to take the issue of GMO contamination more seriously as it poses risks to people’s health, our ecology and Filipino food diversity, and ban GMOs completely.”

For more information:

Daniel Ocampo, Ecological Agriculture Campaigner, , 0917-8110469

Virginia Llorin, Media Campaigner, , 0917-8228793