Multi-sector groups to DA: conduct true public consultation before issuing new rules on GMOs

Press release - February 17, 2016
Manila—Environmental, consumer and farmers’ groups today challenged the Department of Agriculture (DA) to conduct true, meaningful and extensive public consultation before issuing new rules for the research, commercial cultivation and importation of genetically modified (GM) crops.

The groups, which include Greenpeace, Magsasaka at Syentipiko para sa Pag-unlad ng Agrikultura (Masipag), Green Action PH (Graph), Advocates of Science and Technology for the People (Agham), Pesticide Action Network Philippines, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas and the Center or Health Initiatives and Management of Eco-systems, made the demand during a meeting called by Secretary Proceso Alcala today prior to the signing of a Joint Department Circular (JDC) on the propagation of GM crops, which is already set for February 23.

“Rather than rush the signing of the JDC, the DA should instead grab the opportunity to hold genuine and meaningful consultations with the public, especially highly-affected stakeholders, such as farmers. This is an important issue with wide-ranging effects, it deserves more than token consultation,” said Greenpeace campaigner Leonora Lava. 

The groups pointed out that rushing consultations also effectively evades the issue of the absence of consensus on the safety of GMOs, which pose possible threats of irreversible damage to biodiversity and ecosystems, as well as presenting possible risks to human and animal health.

The groups also said that the DA could call on, and give incentives to, local farmers and producers to come forward and supply the local market needs for non-genetically modified corn, soya and other crops. This is to address any possibility of crops shortage, which the DA says it estimates from the temporary ban on imported GM crops.

"This is an opportunity to shift from harmful chemical-based and GM farming to resilient, pesticide-free, ecologically-friendly agriculture," Lava added.  “Government must support scientists and researchers who work for studies and experiments that aim to improve agricultural production that is free from corporate control.”

Last December, the Supreme Court affirmed the May 2013 Court of Appeals order for a permanent ban on field trials of the GM eggplant, Bt talong, and the temporary ban on the development of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), by applying the precautionary principle, in the absence of scientific consensus on the safety of GMOs for human and animal health and the environment.  The temporary ban is in place only until a new ‘administrative order’ takes effect.

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For more information:

Leonora Lava, Senior Ecological Campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia (Philippines)
Mobile: 0915-7998292 | Email: 

JP Agcaoili, Communications & Digital Manager for Greenpeace Southeast Asia (Philippines)
Landline No.: (02) 332-1807 | Email: 

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