A network of organizations opposing genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) on Wednesday made an appeal to agriculture secretary Emmanuel Piñol to provide sustainable agricultural production and safe food for Filipinos.
Resist Agrochem Transnational Corporations Network is a broad alliance of Philippine-based farmers’ organizations, non-government organizations, scientists, environmental activists, health workers, members of the academe and concerned individuals who are against the use of GMOs by companies producing agricultural chemicals.
The group said the Duterte administration’s goal of poverty eradication can be achieved through genuine land reform and providing safe, sustainable agricultural production that can be managed by farmers and local producers.
The network, in a statement, challenged the DA to uphold the rights and welfare of farmers and consumers.
The DA is the lead agency implementing the Joint Department Circular (JDC) No. 1, series of 2016, the current guideline on the propagation, importation, commercialization, research and development of genetically-modified crops, particularly plant and plant products derived from the use of modern biotechnology.
The circular is in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to allow the field testing of BT talong (eggplant), a reversal of an earlier ruling.
The Magsasaka at Siyentista para sa Agrikultura (Masipag) said the DA should support, promote and enhance the best practices of sustainable agriculture and farming already adopted by farmers who refuse to use chemical-based farm inputs and genetically modified technologies.
“We must protect our traditional and heirloom varieties. The government must support the practice and development of sustainable agriculture and provide much-needed support services to help farmers increase their yield as this will contribute to food security and self-sufficiency,” said Masipag campaign officer Alfie Pulumbarit.
Agham, a group advocating science and technology for the people, stated the junking of the joint department circular should be prioritized in order to end the monopoly control of corporations in agriculture.
“The path to food security and self-sufficiency should not mean the promotion of and reliance to foreign and corporate-controlled agriculture technologies,” said Agham secretary general Feny Cosico.
The group will seek further dialogues with Secretary Piñol to present their agenda on food security. Ma. Czarina A. Fernandez, INQUIRER.net trainee