25 April 2003
Hunger strike latest
_____________Original message ____________
Subject: Thank you for your support (pls circulate)
Date: Fri, 25 Apr 2003 05:40:03 +0000
I have responded only now because we have no email facilities at the hunger strike site.
On behalf of the seven hunger strikers entering our fourth day without food to protest the propagation of Bt corn in the Philippines, I would like thank all of you who have sent in your support for our action and our cause. Two of our colleagues broke their fast yesterday to attend to earlier commitments. Four women and three men will go on.
Your words of encouragement inspire us and strengthen our resolve to fight on until the Philippine government wakes up and realizes the folly of propagating genetically-engineered corn in the Philippines.
The conditions at the strike site, in front of the Department of Agriculture, are very difficult. We are camped on the sidewalk right beside a major highway, the Quezon Memorial Circle, that is busy 24 hours a day. Day and night, we have to suffer through vehicular emissions, dust and noise. Because of the noise, pollution and mosquitoes, it is very difficult to sleep at night. During the day, humidity and heat, reaching up to 38 degrees Celsius, add to our problems. Yesterday afternoon was even worse due to a sudden 25-minute downpour.
The responses to our action goad us on. Expressions of support have come in from many sectors, and from abroad. The media has started to take notice, and some are taking a deeper interest in the issue. Some government officials have also expressed support.
Today, April 25, we shall unveil a giant effigy of poisoned corn at the site. Department of Agriculture officials have agreed to schedule a meeting between the hunger strikers and Agriculture Secretary Luisito Lorenzo Jr. on Monday, April 28.
We have set up a website for the hunger strike (please check www.bwf.org), to facilitate the flow of information between the hunger strikers and the outside world.
Difficult days still loom ahead, but your words of encouragement and other forms of support will carry us forward.
Roberto Verzola One of the seven hunger strikers Secretary- general, Philippine Greens Former member, National Committee on Biosafety of the Philippines