3 May 2003
Hunger strikers get more support
The accuracy of the "collapse" claims seems doubtful although some are known to have broken their fast because of health problems, others because of prior commitments.
*5 ANTI-BT CORN HUNGER STRIKERS COLLAPSE
*HUNGER STRIKE vs. Bt CORN TO CONTINUE
*Anti-Bt corn hunger strikers get more support
*SUPPORT THE HUNGER STRIKE
5 ANTI-BT CORN HUNGER STRIKERS COLLAPSE
May 1, 2003
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Five of nine hunger strikers protesting the commercial sale of genetically modified corn at the Philippine agriculture department , collapsed and dropped out as the strike entered its 11th day yesterday.
The story says that the protesters, who had been taking nothing but water and juices since April 22, also had to contend with the summer heat and face a government office that has been empty since Thursday and would remain so for the next three days.
But farmer Luisita Esmao of the Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka (Pakisama) said that she and the three remaining strikers have no plans of ending their hunger strike. They vowed to go on with the strike until the government stops the sale of Bt corn, which they warned could contaminate local poison-free varieties and be hazardous to the health of humans.
President Macapagal-Arroyo allowed the commercial sale of genetically modified Bt corn in the country on Dec. 4.
SEC. LORENZO NON-COMMITTAL; HUNGER STRIKE vs. Bt CORN TO CONTINUE
Agriculture Secretary Luis Lorenzo, Jr. accepted today the petition of farmer leaders and activists now on their seventh day of hunger strike, for a moratorium on the propagation and commercial sale of Bt corn in the country.
"Now that Secretary Lorenzo has heard our arguments for a moratorium, we are hopeful. We will wait for his response. We hope it will come soon. In the meantime, we will continue our indefinite hunger strike against the propagation and sale of Bt corn in our country", said Roberto Verzola of the Philippine Greens, one of the hunger strikers and a former member of the government body National Committee on Biosafety of the Philippines (NCBP).
"Releasing Bt corn now is totally irresponsible, given the warnings of some medical experts at the University of the Philippines College of Medicine and the Philippine General Hospital, National Poison Control Center that there are real dangers arising from its commercialization", he said.
The hunger strike is on its seventh day today, with 6 hunger strikers remaining, namely: Roberto Verzola (Philippine Greens); Luisita Esmao (PAKISAMA), Gigie Cruz (Philippine Greens), Anne Larracas (Philippine Greens), Mark Cervantes (SEARICE), and Arma Bertuso (SEARICE). Two of the hunger strikers, namely Ka Sita Esmao and Anne Laracas were under close medical supervision and one of the two did not make it to the face-to-face meeting with Secretary Lorenzo due to her critical condition.
NEWS RELEASE # 7
Network Opposed to Genetically Modified Organisms! (NO GMOs!)
Southeast Asia Regional Initiatives for Community Empowerment (SEARICE)
Units 208/331 Eagle Court Condominium
26 Matalino Street
Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines
Tel. Nos. : 922-6710, 433-7182
Contact Person: Ping Peria (0917-5486362)
Anti-Bt corn hunger strikers get more support; wait for Lorenzo's reply
As the hunger strike against the commercialization of transgenic corn the country enters its 13th day Saturday, more groups are coming out in support of the protest being held at the Department of Agriculture compound in Quezon City.
On Friday, Quezon City-based nongovernment organization (NGOs) working on women and farmers' issues organized a program to keep the strikers and their followers informed of the ill-effects of genetically modified Bt corn.
The Artists for the Environment have also expressed their support to the hunger strikers. Singers Noel Cabangon, Heber Bartolome and Jess Santiago are collaborating on a ballad "Ang Taghoy ng Ginahasang Mais" to make the issue of Bt corn understandable to the public.
The hunger strikers are also doing what they can to cope with the summer heat. Striker Roberto Verzola of the Philippine Greens wipe his arms with a towel soaked in water, while Ka Sita Esmao of Pakisama, though pale-looking, continued to entertain visitors. Arma Bertuso of Searice is having difficulty breathing because of the fumes from passing vehicles while Mark Cervantes seem to have come out from his dizzy spell.
"Sana'y sagutin na kami ni Secretary [Luis] Lorenzo," said Mark Cervantes on the group's appeal to stop the propagation and commercial sale of Bt corn. The hunger-strikers had a dialogue with Lorenzo early this week about the issue, but Lorenzo did not make a commitment.
SUPPORT THE HUNGER STRIKE
Please send letters in support of the hunger strikers to the Secretary
Examples of points to make (please use your own words) are:
* We join the activists of NO GMOs who are on hunger strike to ask you and your government to impose an immediate moratorium on the field testing and commercialisation of GMOs in the Philippines;
* Such an act would demonstrate that you support the farmers of your country over corporate interests;
* Liability for contamination has not been addressed;
* Many scientists agree that GM is an imprecise technology with unknown effects; health, environmental and economic dangers have not been addressed.
*DRAW ATTENTION TO THE CONCERNS POF SCIENTISTS - examples at: