Monthly Archives: March 2018

Group warns PH vs ‘golden rice’: It’s not the solution to malnutrition

A regional coalition of farmers, consumers, and environment activists has called on the government to reject “foreign safety stamps” on the genetically-engineered “golden rice,” which might pose risk to public health.

The Stop Golden Rice Network asserted that such stamp of approval from other countries might be a ploy to exploit the nation’s weak regulations and policy loopholes on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in order to have the golden rice released in the Philippines.

In a statement, the coalition said the recent approval in foreign countries of the genetically-modified crop might soon lead to “start feeding trials among children and pregnant women in Philippines and Bangladesh.”

Health Canada posted its approval decision of GM Vitamin A enhanced “Golden Rice” last March 16, 2018 amid public concerns, according to the group.

The Network said the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) had also filed application for safety approval and trade clearance of golden rice last 2017 to the United States, Canada, and Australia.

But these decisions, according to the group, are questionable.

“We also question why the International Rice Research Institute is seeking safety approval from Canada, Australia, and the US while farmers and consumers in Asia who plant and eat rice as a staple are left in the dark,” said Cris Panerio of Magsasaka at Siyentipiko para sa Pag-unlad ng Agrikultura (Masipag), a farmers network in the Philippines and a member of the Network.

“Promoting readily available, diverse, and safe Vitamin A food sources from sustainable and ecological farming is the long term solution to combat malnutrition, ensure food security and health, not genetically modified crops like Golden Rice,” he added.

Launched in 2000, golden rice is genetically-engineered to produce beta-carotene, the precursor of Vitamin A, and touted to address malnutrition and Vitamin A Deficiency (VAD).

Syngenta, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Rockefeller Foundation have poured millions of dollars to IRRI to develop Golden Rice in Bangladesh and the Philippines in 2011, according to the Network.

But the group said controversies and conflict have impeded its release in the past two decades.

Ana Bibal, campaign coordinator of the Network, said the approval of Health Canada and Food Standards Australia New Zealand of the golden rice was a “product of corporate lobbying.”

“Scientific findings that questions its viability, safety, and intention were left out; and social concerns were not addressed. Golden Rice will not cure blindness nor address the complex social problem of malnutrition. Instead, Golden Rice commercialization in Asia will translate to unbridled profit, massive trade of unregulated GMO rice and promotion of biofortified GM crops,” she noted.

The Stop Golden Rice! Network consists of organizations from more than 30 countries in Asia.#

Source: Inquirer.net

SIKWAL-GMO Relaunched

Naga City – Multi-sectoral alliance who led the historic 2013 uprooting of Golden Rice in Pili, Camarines Sur convened to launch a stronger campaign against Golden Rice.

The proponents of the genetically modified rice has applied anew for the field trials and direct use of food, feed and processing in the country after cancelling the supposed commercialization in 2014. Farmers and civil society organizations in the Philippines and in other countries as well have expressed the opposition against Golden Rice.

Below is the declaration from the forum:

DEKLARASYON NG PAGKAKAISA PAGKAKAISA NG MGA MAGSASAKA AT MAMAMAYAN LABAN SA LASONG GMO (GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISM)

KAMI, ang mga magsasaka kasama ang malawak na mamamayan sa Kabikolan ay nagbuklod-buklod at buong-lakas na nagkakaisa upang tutulan ang PAGPAPATUPAD AT KOMERSYALISASYON NG GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISM (GMO)sa Bikol at sa buong bansa sapagkat hindi ito ligtas na pagkain, masama sa kalusugan ng tao at makakasira sa kapaligiran. Hindi ito ang sagot sa kahirapan ng mga magsasaka at kakulangan sa pagkain ng maraming Bikolano at ng buong mamamayan. Tinutulan namin ang dayuhang kontrol sa agrikultura at ang mga Agro-chemical Trans National Corporations na siyang pangunahing nagpapalaganap nito kasabwat ang mga ahensya ng gobyerno partikular ang Department of Agriculture o DA, IRRI at Phil Rice.

Gayundin,tinutulan ang malawakang pagpapalit-gamit ng lupaing agrikultural tungo sa komersyal, industriyal at residensyal na gamit na nagreresulta ng kawalan o pagliit ng lupang sakahan at pinagtataniman para sa pangunahing pagkain (bigas) at mga produkto ng mga magsasaka sa Bikol. Ang kagutuman ay dulot ng napakaraming mga problema – pangunahin na dito ang kawalan o kulang na pagkain dahil sa kahirapan dulot ng: mataas na presyo ng bilihin, pagkasira ng lokal na produksyon ng pagkain (monocropping), kapos na plano at suporta mula sa gobyerno upang lunasan ang problema sa pagkain at malnutrisyon at pagbabago ng pinipiling pagkain. Ngunit sa pangkalahatan, ang kawalan o kulang ng sariling lupang tinataniman habang pinapagamit ang malalawak na lupain sa mga dayuhang korporasyon at malalaking lokal na negosyante, kawalan ng subsidyo at wastong suportang serbisyo mula sa gobyerno para sa pagpapaunlad ng akrikultura at ang malawakang kumbersyon ng mga lupang agricultural ang sanhi ng kahirapan ng mga magsasaka.

Ang pangako ng Golden Rice o Vitamin A-Rice, na ito ang sagot sa problema sa malnutrisyon ay walang siyentipikong basehan at walang konsiderasyon sa ibang aspetong Vitamin A Deficiency (VAD) at kagutuman. Dahil sa kahirapan, hindi lamang VAD ang problema kundi pati na din ang kakulangan sa iba’tibang klase ng nutrisyon. Hindi solusyon ang Golden Rice sa isang kumplikadong problema bagkus ay maaari pang magpalala sa sitwasyon ng kagutuman ng mga mamamayan. Ang Golden Rice ay isa pang uring high input variety na nakahulma sa paggamit ng mataas na kantidad ng sentitikong pataba at pestisidyo kung saan matagal nang tinutulan ng mga magsasaka. Itinutulak ito ng mga Trans-National-Corporations (TNCs) tulad ng Syngenta at Monsanto kasabwat ang DA, IRRI, Philrice, Golden Rice Humanitarian Board (GRHB) at mga dayuhang Funding Agencies (FAs) para makakuha ng dambuhalang tubo habang nagkukubli ito sa pagbabalat kayong ang paglikha ng Golden Rice ay para raw sa “humanitarian purposes”. Samantala, ang mga TNCs na ito ang may kontrol sa patenteng mga binhi at lahi at kumikita ng halos P30 Bilyong dolyar sa isang taon habang patuloy ang pagbagsak ng kabuhayan ng mga magsasaka—ang pangunahing lumililikha ng ating pagkain pangunahin ang palay.

Kung kaya’t, kaming mga magsasaka kasama ang malawak na mamamayang Bikolano ay nagkakaisa na tutulan at labanan angPAGPAPATUPAD AT KOMERSYALISASYON NG GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISM (GMO) at ng GOLDEN RICE sa Bikol at sa buong bansa. Ipalaganap ang maraming alternatibong paraan na magbibigay ng kalutasan sa krisis sa produksyon ng palay. Ipaglaban ang pagkakaroon ng Genuine Agrarian Reform Program at isagawa ang likas-kayang pagsasaka na dibersipikado at ang kolektibisasyon ng produksyon. Sa pangkalahatan, tanging ang pagkakaroon lang naming ng sariling lupang sinasaka at tinataniman at pagkakaroon ng sapat at wastong suportang serbisyo sa pagpapaunlad ng agrikultura ang magtitiyak ng sapat at ligtas na pagkain para sa lahat. Kung gayon, napapanahon, may malakas na batayan at kagyat na kailangan ang pagpapalakas at pagpapalawak ng SIKWAL-GMO para manguna sa “pagsikwal” (pagtakwil) ng GMO/Golden Rice.

MASIPAG in the Media: Canadian NGO Cites MASIPAG Position on Health Canada Golden Rice Approval

Canadian regulator Health Canada has approved the application of Golden Rice in their country.

Click this link to read more.

Tatay Francis, Environmental Hero

Francis Morales, or Tatay Francis as he is fondly called, has been recognized as one of the country’s environmental defenders by the award-giving body, Gawad Bayani ng Kalikasan (GBK). GBK honors the individuals and groups protecting and defending the environment and peoples’ rights.

“Tatay Francis bravely defended the rights of Typhoon survivors amid media slanting and attacks from government institutions, due to the Barug Katawhan’s organized confiscation of hoarded relief goods in the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) regional office warehouse. Threatened by then Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman with criminal charges for defending how the “hungry and angry” survivors were justified in the assertion, Tatay Francis retorted with an intense but calm “see you in court”.

He became part of Magsasaka at Siyentipiko para sa Pag-unlad ng Agrikultura (MASIPAG) where he became their advocacy officer before being part of its Board of Trustees. Applying his wide knowledge in sustainable agriculture, he initiated a Resilient Agriculture Program that benefitted the communities affected by Typhoon Pablo and Yolanda.

Until his last breath, Tatay Francis was knee-deep in serving the people. He served as the rocj and foundation of the Daluyong Network of Disaster Survivors formed in 2014 in Tacloban City, and unprecedented gathering of typhoon survivors from all over the country.

Tatay Francis’ post-humous award was received by his wife Anita and daughter Raray, who are also development workers pushing for sustainable agriculture.#

 

Roundtable Discussion on Golden Rice


RESIST Agrochemical TNCs together with the All UP Academic Employees Union and NNARA – Youth UP Manila conducted a Round Table Discussion with civil society organizations regarding the imminent approval of Golden Rice application for direct use and open field testing. Present were different organizations working with peasants, farm workers, women farmers, youth, church groups, sustainable and organic agriculture practitioners and community health workers.

During the RTD the problems posed by the planned application to field test Golden Rice in Nueva Ecija and Isabela and feed testing of Golden Rice among target communities in the country were discussed. Among the participants, initials plans of actions have also been explored to further strengthen the campaign against the genetically modified rice. #