Farmers challenge agri department to uphold welfare of producers, resist GMO crops...

Farmers challenge agri department to uphold welfare of producers, resist GMO crops and control of agrocorporations in agriculture

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In an action at the Department of Agriculture, the militant farmers’ group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) criticized the Supreme Court decision reversing an earlier ruling that temporarily enjoined the field testing, propagation and commercialization and importation of genetically modified organisms, particularly the Bt talong (Bacillus thurengiensis eggplant).

On July 26, the SC voted unanimously to grant the motion for reconsideration filed by pro-GMO proponents led by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications Inc. (ISAAA), Croplife Philippines and the University of the Philippines-Los Banos.

In December 2015, the SC decided to permanently stop the field testing of Bt talong and temporarily stop any application for field testing, contained use, propagation and importation of GMOs until a new law is in effect.

In April this year, the government approved the new Joint Department Circular No. 1 series of 2016 or the Rules and Regulations for the Research and Development, Handling and Use, Transboundary Movement, Release into the Environment, and Management of Plant and Plant Products Derived from the Use of Modern Biotechnology.

“It is obvious that the SC decided in favor of the petition filed by agrocorporations and research institutions promoting GMOs and GM technologies. The SC’s reversal of its own ruling only prove that it can bend its own decision and legal positions to acquiesce to the whims and interests of corporations. The SC has set aside the people’s interest in reversing its landmark decision,” Flores asserted.

The KMP challenged the Department of Agriculture (DA) to uphold the interest of farmers and the people to a safe and sustainable agriculture that is free from the dictate of foreign agrocorporations. “The control of agriculture and food production must be in the hands of the people, especially farmers,” Flores said.

“The Supreme Court’s latest ruling on GMOs is one of the series of anti-people decisions it issued,” said KMP secretary general Antonio Flores citing recent SC decision that dismissed the plunder case against former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and another ruling that affirmed the constitutionality of the Enhanced Cooperation Defense Agreement (EDCA). ###