On Monday, March 7, 2016, the Philippine government approved a new set of rules on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) after the Supreme Court declared invalid the previous Department of Agriculture Order (DAO) 08.
Leonora Lava, Food and Ecological Agriculture Campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia said:
“Greenpeace welcomes the introduction of new rules and appreciates the various government agencies coming together to improve the Philippines’ GMO regulation. However, like its predecessor, this set of new rules still needs stronger measures for independent and robust GMO risks and impacts assessment, public participation in decision-making, and people’s remedies in case of GMOs’ adverse effects. Environmental organizations, farmers, consumers, health groups, organic traders and other groups have proposed these improvements to the agencies, but they were not included in the government’s rush to pass the new rules.
“The hastily run consultation process for the new rules was meant to appease giant foreign corporations who are into developing, producing and selling GMOs in the country. Their control of Philippine food, agriculture and profits are now threatened by the Supreme Court’s decision to temporarily ban GMOs, and they did not take this sitting down.
“There is a GMO crisis – not a food nor a feeds crisis – because the country, for a very long time, has been dependent on unsustainable and harmful GM feed imports, when the Philippine government could have instead focused their efforts on encouraging, funding, and supporting local farmers who are into organic farming to meet the demands.
“Greenpeace, together with the other petitioners, farmers, indigenous peoples, consumers and civil society organizations, commit to defend our win in the high court and to insist that those stronger measures must be enshrined in the new rules.
“We also take this opportunity to call on our next President, the Congress and the Department of Agriculture to transition to ecological agriculture by supporting local farmers who are into GM-free farming. The government must invest in scientific research that will improve organic, chemical-free, community-appropriate, ecologically-sound and climate change-resilient farming systems.”