1.Farmers and scientists unite to decry GMOs
2.SEARice opposes GM rice approval
3.Greenpeace warns public on dangers of GMO rice
NOTE: For more on IRRI and their role in GM crop promotion throughout Asia: http://www.gmwatch.org/profile1.asp?PrId=296&page=I
EXTRACT: 'Would it enhance agricultural productivity, global competitiveness, lower the price of rice in the market, alleviate poverty and hunger, improve the health of the rice-eating Filipinos?' (item 2)
1.Farmers and scientists unite to decry increased entry of GMOs!
Launches book against IRRI
News Release, November 7 2007
At a press conference at Quezon City, the militant Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and the Asian Peasant Coalition (APC) decried the increased entry of genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) like the LL601, LL Rice 62 and the Uncle Sam Texas Long Grain Rice, in the country and the depletion of our traditional rice varieties. The groups also presented thousands of signatures of people aiming to protect rice culture.
According to Danilo 'Ka Daning' Ramos, concurrent secretary general of KMP and APC, 'this is the sorry state of our rice industry now and it is all because of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), an institution which is mainly to blame for the deterioration of our country’s rice culture,'
'Farmers have long been protecting and preserving rice culture from genetically engineered (GE) rice but IRRI has almost destroyed all of this. Now we are launching this book IRRI Resource Kit titled 'Angry at IRRI' to help us save of what is left and be a useful tool in our education and advocacy work in defending our rice culture,' said Ramos.
Meanwhile Jun Layosa, coordinator of the Brotherhood of IRRI Workers Support Services Group (BISSIG) said 'IRRI did not only facilitate the influx of genetically modified organisms in the country, they also made some themselves and in the process we were evicted from our land and many of our friends and loved ones became sick and some of whom have already died. IRRI did not only take our land, they also took our health and our lives.'
'We hope that by this book the awareness of more people will be heightened against the dangers that IRRI poses against us and how we can combat it. We hope that people will use this book as a guide in guarding against threats to our rice culture and the health of the nation,' ended Layosa.
2.NGO asks gov't to deny Bayer petition
Amy R. Remo
The Inquirer, November 15 2007
An international nongovernmental organization has asked the government to deny an application of pharmaceutical giant Bayer for commercial distribution of its genetically modified rice, Liberty Link Rice 62, on grounds that the evaluation process is 'concealed from the public.'
The Southeast Asia Regional Initiative for Community Empowerment (SEARice) raised the alarm, saying the 'concealment' also posed serious questions on the independence of the government's Scientific and Technical Review Panel from GMO-producing firms.
'We urge the Department of Agriculture to divulge the composition of the STRP and assure the public of the members' independence from any GMO firm’s interest,' said Socrates Lugasip, SEARice technical officer.
According to the DA, the STRP is composed of at least three 'reputable and independent scientists ... to evaluate the application, particularly the risk assessment studies conducted and actions taken by relevant regulatory authorities in the country of origin.'
Lugasip said allowing the importation of this GM rice required transparency and public knowledge as rice is the Filipinos’ staple food.
'The people need to know the reasons behind the government's rush to allow this, despite the fact that the rice has not been grown commercially elsewhere nor does it have any history of safe consumption by humans,' Lugasip said.
Bayer, for its part, said it could not issue an official statement due to a pending case on the commercialization of the LLRICE62.
Greenpeace filed this year a petition against the use of Bayer's LLRice62 for food, animal feed and processing.
SEARice said a member of the STRP had said he would dismiss the application of LLRICE62 for lack of merit.
'Would it enhance agricultural productivity, global competitiveness, lower the price of rice in the market, alleviate poverty and hunger, improve the health of the rice-eating Filipinos?' said STRP member Emerlito Borromeo.
Borromeo added that the evaluation of GMO applications should not be left to STRP alone because the panel’s perspective was confined only to technical aspects, and does not cover the economic and sociocultural implications of a particular GMO.
3.Greenpeace warns public on dangers of GMO rice
By Amy R. Remo The Inquirer, 7 November 2007
MANILA, Philippines--The environment group Greenpeace on Tuesday warned the public of an impending 'economic and ecological disaster' if genetically modified rice became available commercially.
In a statement, Greenpeace said that economic costs associated with the contamination of US rice stocks sold in the global market are 'staggering, with losses expected to exceed $1.2 billion.'
It said the contamination reportedly 'arose from experimental field trials of LL601 in the US which ended in 2001.'
Bayer's LL601 is rice genetically altered to survive the powerful herbicide glufosinate.
Greenpeace said traces of the Bayer LL601 were discovered in US rice supplies last year.
At least 30 countries were affected by the contamination while many closed their markets to US rice, including major importers such as the European Union and the Philippines, Greenpeace added.
Despite the closure, Greenpeace said the 'Uncle Sam Texas Long Grain Rice' being sold in Philippine supermarkets was reportedly contaminated by this 'illegal, unauthorized and unapproved GMO rice variety.'
Greenpeace said this discovery had prompted the National Food Authority to demand GMO-free certification from US rice traders and halt US imports worth $20 million.
'Filipinos have been exposed to the inherent risks of this genetically altered rice without knowing it,' said Greenpeace Southeast Asia Genetic Engineering campaigner for Philippines Daniel Ocampo.
He added that aside from inherent risks to human health and the environment, 'GMO crops could also ruin the agriculture exports and economy of a country like the US.'
'Asia should focus on other means of developing rice varieties,' Ocampo said.
Greenpeace had filed a petition earlier this year against the use of Bayer's GMO Liberty Link Rice 62 for food, animal feed and processing.