19 May 2003
Monsanto and US Aid-funded lobby group blocking anti-Bt corn bills
May 19, 2003
Reference: RAFAEL MARIANO, KMP National Chairperson
Monsanto, Agile blocking anti-Bt corn bills - KMP
The militant Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) today accused agro-chemical giant Monsanto and the US Aid-funded lobby group Accelerating Growth, Investment and Liberalization with Equity (Agile) of blocking bills in Congress that are against genetically modified organisms (GMOs) like the Bt corn.
"Since October 2001, House Bill 3381, House Resolutions 238 and 922 has not moved an inch in Congress because Monsanto and Agile desperately blocks its passage," said KMP chair Rafael Mariano.
"It may be recalled that Agile has been very influential in the passage of anti-peasant and pro-globalization legislations like the Plant Variety Protection (PVP) Act of 2002 (RA 9168) that strengthened the control of agro-chemical TNC's over seeds and the Rice Trade Liberalization Bills in Congress that would remove the quantitative restriction on rice importation and pushes National Food Authority privatization," Mariano said.
Mariano added that they are not surprised over Agriculture Secretary Luis Lorenzo's firm denial of a moratorium on Bt corn commercialization and distribution because "Monsanto and Agile technocrats now serves as Lorenzo's consultants concerning the issue of GMOs and Bt corn."
Since 1998, Agile maintains an office at the Planning and Monitoring Service of the Department of Agriculture - the office where the PVP bill submitted to Congress was formulated.
Recently, the KMP urged Congress to prioritize the passage of House Bill 3381, authored by Bayan Muna party-list representatives, which seeks to suspend the entry, field-testing and propagation of GMOs pending a thorough evaluation of their safety and compliance with health and environment standards.
House Resolution (HR) 238, also filed by Bayan Muna, seeks to probe the role of the National Committee on Biosafety of the Philippines in the field-testing of Bt corn. HR 922 seeks to investigate the Bureau of Plant Industry for approving the commercial propagation of Bt corn under the Yieldgard label of Monsanto Corp. of the United States. The KMP also said that "even HB 1647, authored by Marikina Rep. Del de Guzman, which requires the mandatory labeling of all GM crops and GMO-derived food products is being blocked by corporate interest groups and Agile." # # #
Farmers urge Congress to rush anti-Bt corn bills
Posted:2:13 AM (Manila Time) | May 19, 2003
By Gerald G. Lacuarta
Inquirer News Service
MILITANT farmers on Sunday called on Congress to enact bills that would prevent the entry of genetically engineered crops like Bt corn into the country.
Rafael Mariano, chair of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, appealed to the members of the House to "immediately sit down, tackle and pass" three measures that are pending in the chamber, which would halt the commercialization-planting and sale-of Bt corn in the country.
"Instead of tackling anti-people issues like Charter change that would only intensify agrarian unrest in the countryside, Congress should pass immediately House Bill 3381 and discuss House Resolutions 238 and 922," Mariano said.
HB 3381, authored by Bayan Muna party-list representatives, seeks to suspend the entry, field-testing and propagation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) pending a thorough evaluation of their safety and compliance with health and environment standards. HR 238, also filed by Bayan Muna, seeks to probe the role of the National Committee on Biosafety of the Philippines in the field-testing of Bt corn. HR 922 seeks to investigate the Bureau of Plant Industry for approving the commercial propagation of Bt corn under the Yieldgard label of Monsanto Corp. of the United States.
"While deliberations in Congress are ongoing, the distribution of Bt corn must be stopped," Mariano said.
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