Farmers and People Victorious in Environmental Court Case against GM Golden Rice and Bt Eggplant

April 19, 2024

by MASIPAG National Office

Today marks a significant victory for the Filipino farmers and people, as well as advocates of food sovereignty worldwide as we prevail in the environmental court battle against Golden Rice and Bt Eggplant. This decision underscores the triumph of farmers and the people in asserting their constitutional right to health and a healthy and balanced ecology against the introduction of unwanted, unnecessary Genetically Modified crops.

Golden Rice and Bt Eggplant, touted as a solutions to Vitamin A Deficiency and pest infestation, faced staunch opposition from small farmers, consumes, childrens rights, scientists, and sectoral groups who have long advocated for healthy, sustainable, community-driven farming methods through farmer-led agroecology. The Court of Appeals ruling acknowledges the inherent risks associated with genetically modified crops and reaffirms the importance of conserving and protecting biodiversity and the health of the people.

Accordingly, the Court of Appeals judgment is hereby rendered:

  1. GRANTING the privilege of the Writ of Kalikasan;
  2. ISSUING a Writ of Continuing Mandamus against respondent government agencies;
  3. DIRECTING UPLB to cease and desist from commercially propagating and conducting activities relating to Bt Eggplant under the issued BSP
  4. REVOKING the BSP for commercial propagation of Golden Rice of PhilRice
  5. ORDERING PhilRice to cease and desist from commercially propagating and conducting activities relating to Golden Rice under the issued BSP
  6. ENJOINING the commercial propagation and/or conduct of activities relating to Golden Rice and Bt Eggplant, until such time that the concerned respondent government agencies submit proof of safety and compliance with all legal requirements
  7. ORDERING the concerned respondent government agencies to perform their mandate under applicable JDC, by submitting to CA concrete mechanisms adopted to monitor all activities conducted under the JDCs, and all measures taken to strengthen the risk assessment procedure set forth in JDC No. 1-2021, in accordance with the ruling in this case; and
  8. ENJOINING any application for contained use, field testing, direct use as food or feed or processing, commercial propagation, and importation of GMOs until compliance with the (7) above.

This victory in the Philippine Court of Appeals is a testament to correctness of forwarding farmer-led agroecology and food sovereignty and to the resilience and determination of farmers who have tirelessly defended their rights to control their seeds, food systems, biodiversity and health of the people. It sends a powerful message to corporations and policymakers that the future of agriculture lies in empowering farmers and embracing agroecological principles that prioritize environmental sustainability, biodiversity, and the well-being of farming communities.

As we celebrate this momentous and historical win, the call to meaningfully support and enable our farmers in their transition towards agroecological farming practices becomes more urgent than ever. However, the need to sustain our efforts and ready ourselves in a possible hearing in the Philippine Supreme Court is imperative.

By investing in farmer-led initiatives and promoting policies that prioritize food sovereignty, we can build a more resilient and equitable food system that nourishes both people and the planet.