Visayan Farmers urge local government units (LGUs) for the passage of ordinance preventing the entry of GM crops and institute measures to protect farmers’ and consumers’ right to healthy and safe food

May 2, 2023

by MASIPAG National Office

MASIPAG farmers in the Visayas welcome the Supreme Court’s decision to issue the Writ of Kalikasan vs. golden rice and BT eggplant during its en banc deliberations last April 18, 2023. The court’s decision is an affirmation of the petitioner’s concern about its irreparable damage and risk to agrobiodiversity and the environment.

“As organic farmer-practitioners, the Supreme Court’s issuance of the writ gave us a relief, we strongly believe that GM rice (or golden rice) and Bt eggplant will not benefit us, and will do more harm than good”, Rodolfo Cortez, MASIPAG Visayas – Regional Management Team Chair said in a statement. “Proponents of these GMOs are yet to present substantial and in-depth studies to prove its safety for the environment and health” Cortez added.

In July 2021, DA-BPI issued a permit for golden rice commercialization despite strong opposition from farmers and consumers. Inquiry from the food safety watchdog revealed that no independent and in-depth studies have been done by the proponents to prove the safety of golden rice on health and the environment.

In October of last year, a petition for Writ of Kalikasan with prayer for the issuance of temporary environmental protection order was submitted to the Supreme Court to stop the commercial propagation of GM golden rice and Bt eggplant in the country, the move was led by MASIPAG along with individual scientists, farmers, consumer groups, and concerned individuals.

Cortez said that they own adequate seeds and do not want patented GMO seeds of transnational corporations like Syngenta which owns the patent of GM golden rice.

“We call on the national government and the local government units (LGU) to listen to the small farmers and support organic farming. We need government support in order to realize a more sustainable way of achieving adequate, safe, and affordable food for all,” he said. Cortez also urged LGUs to pass and implement ordinances to protect the rights of small farmers and consumers to healthy and safe food.