RESIST Agrochem TNCs network (RESIST) issued an appeal to the Department of Agriculture (DA) secretary Emmanuel ‘Manny’ Pinol to heed the demand of farmers, scientists and consumers for free and safe food for all.
The thrust of the Duterte administration to seriously eradicate poverty and address widespread hunger can only be achieved if there is genuine land reform and as well as safe, sustainable and vibrant agricultural production that is in the control of farmers and local producers.
Farmers groups, environmental activists, scientists, consumer advocates and concerned sectors challenged the DA to uphold the rights and welfare of farmers and consumers, in the light of the Supreme Court’s reversal of its decision on the controversial Bt talong case. Seven months after its landmark decision permanently enjoining the field testing of BT talong, the SC, on July 26, reversed its own ruling on the basis of ‘mootness’ and granted the petitions for motion for reconsideration filed by pro-GMO proponents.
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 GM crops, particularly plant and plant products derived from the use of modern biotechnology.
For its part, 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 GM (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.
Meanwhile, advocates of science and technology for the people or AGHAM, said that the first step in ending the monopoly control of agro-corporations in agriculture is the junking of the JDC, which facilitates the dependency of farmers to unsafe and dangerous GMOs.
“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’s Feny Cosico.
The group will seek further dialogues with agriculture secretary Pinol to present the people’s agenda on food security.
RESIST Network is a broad alliance of Philippine-based farmers’ organizations, NGOs, scientists, environmental activists, health workers, academe and concerned individuals in opposition to agrochemical TNCs and GMOs.
It promotes sustainable farming and pushes for genuine agrarian reform as the foundation of food security and social justice. ###
Antonio Flores, KMP, 09212726682
Alfie Pulumbarit, MASIPAG, 09270134149
Feny Cosico, AGHAM – 0917-8415445