Supreme Court puts GM aubergines on hold
Gilbert P. Felongco, Correspondent
Gulf News, May 14 2012
Manila: A recent move by the Supreme Court [to] stop commercial production of genetically-modified Bt eggplant in the Philippines was welcomed by a group of environmentalists and concerned individuals.
Greenpeace said the Supreme Court decision to grant a Writ of Kalikasan in favour of stopping Bt eggplant field trials in the country while further studies are being conducted is a step forward in the fight against so-called "Frankenstein" food that harms not only the human body but the environment as well.
Many independent scientific studies provide clear evidence that GMOs such as Bt eggplant, as well as Bt corn, can negatively impact the liver, kidneys, or blood when ingested.
"Greenpeace believes the granting of the Writ of Kalikasan to be a recognition of the threats that GMOs pose to human health and the environment. We welcome this as a positive development: GMOs and GMO field trials clearly violate every Filipino's constitutional right to a balanced and healthful ecology, and their invasion into our fields and our diets must be stopped," said Daniel Ocampo, Sustainable Agriculture Campaigner, Greenpeace Southeast Asia.
The Writ of Kalikasan (Nature) is a legal remedy designed for the protection of one's constitutional right to a healthy environment.
In the same breath, Greenpeace called for greater scrutiny of the country's GMO approval system as it welcomed the Supreme Court decision to stop field trials of the genetically-modified organism (GMO) Bt eggplant in the Philippines.
"The Supreme Court has given hope to Filipinos as its decision now puts into the spotlight the country's flawed GMO approval system which has never rejected any GMO application, allowing dangerous GMO crops to be eaten and planted by Filipinos. This is an outrage and such a regulatory system which clearly disregards public good must be scrapped," he added.
According to Greenpeace, there are serious uncertainties regarding the safety and long-term impacts of GMOs.
"Many independent scientific studies provide clear evidence that GMOs such as Bt eggplant, as well as Bt corn, can negatively impact the liver, kidneys, or blood when ingested," the group said.
Last April 26, petitioners led by Leo Avila of Davao City Agriculturist Office, Atty. Maria Paz Luna, former Senator Orlando Mercado and Greenpeace Southeast Asia Executive Director Von Hernandez filed a petition asking the Supreme Court to issue a Writ of Kalikasan against GMO field trials.
The petition seeks to immediately stop the field trials of Bt eggplant. It also puts into question the flawed government regulatory process for approving GMOs and ensuring the safety of GMOs first on health and environmental grounds before they are released into the open.
Despite the scientific doubt that surrounds GMO food crops, the Philippines has never rejected any GMO application, approving, since 2002, a total of 67 GMOs for importation, consumption and propagation.
Most of these GMOs are approved as food for Filipinos. While other countries are taking the precautionary approach to GMOs, Greenpeace said the Philippine Department of Agriculture has done exactly the opposite.