Promote sustainable agriculture, support Negros's rejection of GMOs: Greenpeace

Press release - June 30, 2009
Greenpeace today called on the national government to follow the example of Negros Occidental in its vigilance against GMO crops (genetically modified organisms) to protect and promote sustainable agriculture in the country. The call came at the conclusion of the province’s Environment Week celebrations last week which showcased Bacolod’s organic and sustainable farming initiatives.

"Greenpeace commends the continuing diligence of the province of Negros Occidental in their unwavering efforts to protect the province from harmful GMO contamination.  Negros Occidental shows that it is leading the way forward in sustainable agriculture in the country.  The Department of Agriculture, as an agency mandated to protect the welfare of Filipino consumers and farmers, must not only support the GMO ban, it must also institute the same in all the other provinces in the country," said Greenpeace Southeast Asia Sustainable Agriculture Campaigner Daniel Ocampo.

The province of Negros Occidental pioneered the ban on GMOs in the country with Provincial Ordinance 007, Series of 2007 or the "Safeguard Against Genetically Modified Organisms."  The local government recently upheld the ban by rejecting shipments of illegal GMO corn at the capital's ports in Bacolod City.

 The ban was questioned by GMO-promoters and dealers, including those from the Department of Agriculture, as well as the province's Hog Raisers Association.  The provincial government, however, has reiterated that it is maintaining the ban to prevent GMO contamination of normal crops in the province.

 "More and more provinces in the Philippines such as Bohol and Oriental Mindoro now have similar ordinances and orders aimed at curbing the entry of GMOs, and which focus on promoting sustainable and organic farming practices.  Like Negros, those provinces are under assault by monopolistic corporate interests who would like to curb consumer choice and contaminate our farms and food with unsafe and even illegal and unapproved GMOs," said Ocampo.  " Genetic-engineering is an unnecessary and unwanted technology that contaminates the environment, threatens biodiversity, food security and farmer's livelihoods and poses unacceptable risks to health.  Greenpeace is therefore calling on the Philippine government, particularly the DA, to rethink its pro-GMO agricultural policies and instead focus fully on safer farming practices such as organic and sustainable agriculture."

Greenpeace campaigns for GMO-free crop and food production grounded on the principles of sustainability, protection of biodiversity, and providing all people access to safe and nutritious food.

Other contacts: Daniel Ocampo, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Genetic Engineering Campaigner, +63 917 897 6416, Lea Guerrero, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Media Campaigner, +63 920 950 6877,