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PHILIPPINES SC asked to stop production
of genetically modified eggplants by Edu Punay
27-April-2012 The Philippine STAR View
MANILA, Philippines - An international
environmental group trooped to the Supreme Court (SC) yesterday
in a bid to stop the commercial production of genetically
modified (GMO) eggplants that they said pose danger to human
In a 68-page petition, Greenpeace asked the high court
to issue a writ of Kalikasan and temporary restraining order
(TRO) enjoining the ongoing field testing of Bacillus thuringiensis
(Bt) eggplants, a genetically modified variety that produces
its own pesticide, in four provinces.
“The GMO Bt talong was destined for commercial approval
by the end of 2011, but due to non-conduct of field trials
in four places, the proponents have failed to secure commercial
approval. However, this crop is still planned to be field-tested.
Such testing will expose the Philippines to GMO contamination
of more than 500 varieties of eggplant and other wild and
weedy relatives,” the group argued.
The group was joined by former senator Orlando Mercado,
Puerto Princesa Mayor Edward Hagedorn and other concerned
representatives of various sectors in seeking relief from
the high tribunal.
Petitioners alleged that the new crop could endanger consumers
because it damages the internal organs. With its built-in
insect-resistance gene, Bt eggplant can also create aggressive
weeds that may wreak havoc on local agriculture and natural
They cited results of a 90-day laboratory test, conducted
by proponents of genetically modified organisms on mice
fed with the new Bt eggplant, which showed signs of toxicity
in the liver and kidneys of the test subjects.
In December 2010, the local government of Davao City took
a precautionary action by uprooting Bt eggplant trials being
conducted by the UP Mindanao Foundation.
On a general perspective, they pointed out the lack of
long-term study to prove that GMO would be safe for human
“The government’s GMO approval system is hopelessly flawed
and biased towards the release and propagation of GMOs in
the country. The government’s pro-GMO approach is unfortunately
resulting in a massive and uncontrolled unleashing of GMOs
into our diets and our environment,” the petitioners noted.
They raised the same concern over other GMOs now being
circulated in the market.
“Not one GMO application for commercial release has been
disapproved or rejected despite the absence of conclusive
proof that such open releases are safe for the environment
and human health,” Greenpeace stressed.
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