Incoming admin should ban GMOs, go organic–Green Action PH

May 26, 2016

by IBON Foundation

IBON Networks | Green Action PH | Multi-sector group Green Action PH urged the incoming administration under presumptive leader Rodrigo Duterte to put public safety first and ban genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in the country. The group recommended for the new president to heed consumer clamor to apply the precautionary principle and thoroughly evaluate the impact of GMOs instead of continuing the current administration’s policy of active promotion.
Green Action PH has strongly criticized the Department of Agriculture (DA) and Aquino administration for paving the way for GMOs and biotech corporation interests in the country.  While there are no conclusive scientific evidence on the safety of GMOs allowed for feeds and food processing, the government continues to evade studying the potential impact or harm this will cause on health, livelihoods, and the environment, said the group.
Early this year the DA, together with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Department of Health (DOH), and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) rushed the approval of the questionable Joint Departmental Circular (JDC) No.1 in compliance with a Supreme Court requirement in lifting a temporary ban on GMOs. Not only did the government railroad public and stakeholder consultations on the JDC, it also left out some of the most critical provisions such as risk assessment, food safety test, liability and redress. The DA is currently facilitating new applications of biotechnology firms such as Monsanto Philippines, Inc. and Bayer Philippines, Inc. to breed and import GM seeds and crops under the JDC.
“Green Action PH calls on the new administration to veer away from the previous administration’s pro-GMO stance by practicing the precautionary principle on GMOs. We reiterate our demand for a ban of GMOs and the conduct of the long overdue post release impact evaluation of GMOs in Philippine farms on health, biodiversity and on small farmers’ incomes”, says Mr. Sansen Maglinte, spokesperson for Green Action PH.
The post release impact evaluation is a requirement for any novel organism such as GMOs released to the environment under the national bio-safety framework under Executive Order No. 514, series of 2006.
“Instead of promoting GMOs in Philippine agriculture, we recommend that the incoming DA Secretary and new government under President-elect Duterte support the optimization of the country’s agricultural potentials.  This means decisively implementing genuine agrarian reform with free land redistribution, supporting sustainable farming technologies, directing its agricultural research agenda to more environmentally, farmer-centered agriculture research and development, and recognizing that agriculture is a backbone in national economic development”, ends Maglinte.