MANILA, Philippines - The government
should stop field trials in the Philippines on GMO (genetically
modified organism) crops, an environmental group said Friday.
Greenpeace International, in a press statement, said Agriculture
Secretary Proceso Alcala should "put his words into
action" and make sure that GMO crops that have yet
to be proven safe are not released into the environment.
Greenpeace Southeast Asia official Daniel Ocampo also urged
Alcala to order an investigation into those pushing for
field trials of GMOs.
In a media forum in Davao City earlier this week, Alcala
is said to have reiterated that he would never give approve
planting of genetically engineered "Bt talong,"
unless there is a "100 percent guarantee" of its
"Greenpeace is thus questioning why the field trials
are still pushing through despite sorely lacking safety
processes, the apparent pointlessness of the exercise, and
the opposition of so many sectors to these field trials,"
The genetically modified eggplant allegedly has "built-in
"If Secretary Alcala is really resolute in preventing
the spread of unproven GMOs during his term, he should order
the immediate halt of these field trials, see for himself
how they put other crops at risk, and investigate how the
proponents have been skirting around the requirement of
doing conclusive risk assessment in confined laboratory
conditions and the opposition of farmers, scientists, community
groups and even LGUs (local government units) that have
already passed ordinances against these field trials,"
In a public hearing held last week by the House of Representatives'
Committee on Agriculture and Food, GMO proponents reportedly
failed to show independent risk assessments that are required
prior to letting GMO crops out in open fields.
During the hearing, various groups such as farmers-scientists
organization MASIPAG, community rights watchdog SEARICE,
consumer advocacy group Consumer Rights for Safe Food said
poor regulations in the Philippines are allowing rejected
GMO technologies from other countries into the country.
This week, the Davao City council reaffirmed its position
on a resolution it released last year banning the field
trials, by rejecting another appeal by Professor Gerardo
Santos of the University
of the Philippines (UP) in Mindanao to reconsider the
Other news about Bt eggplant development in
the Philippines, click here.