Stop turning people
into guinea pigs,
KMP tells Camarines Sur town Mayor
Press Release 4feb02
Rafael V. Mariano, KMP National Chairperson
The militant Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas lambasted Tigaon, Camarines Sur Mayor Elmo Bombase on his decision to approve another field testing of Genetically Engineered (GE) crops by agrochemical transnational corporation Pioneer and for offering his town as pilot field test site for Monsanto's GE rice. The peasant group also castigated Bombase for making decisions based from a hasty conclusion that GE crops are harmless and demanded that he stop turning his constituents into guinea pigs.
"Tigaon is not and should not be a laboratory and his people are definitely not guinea pigs. His move to open up his town to Monsanto and Pioneer's field testing activities is like offering his people as human sacrifices. Decisions made out of ignorance, confusion and hasty conclusions often, if not always, turn out to be big and noxious mistakes in the end," KMP National Chairperson Rafael Mariano said.
Mariano also criticized Bombase for his hasty conclusion that Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are harmless after he found no sign of dead or mutated organisms on the Monsanto trial farm he visited. Citing a case in Mexico, Mariano added, "The effects of GE crops on the health and the environment requires in depth scientific research and laboratory procedures and not from a mere ocular inspection."
On September 19, 2001, the first ever proven case of transgenic contamination was revealed. Mexico's Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources confirmed that GE materials have contaminated native corn varieties in Mexico. Fifteen (15) communities out of the 22 that the government has tested proved positive for contamination by transgenics.
Meanwhile in the US, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues to ignore the concerns of researchers at Cornell University, Iowa State University and the University of Minnesota on possible harmful and long-term impacts of Bt corn on monarch butterflies.
Peasants have been up in arms against agrochemical transnational corporations (TNCs) like Monsanto after it started out its Bt corn field trials in major provinces in the country. Bt corn varieties are made by agrochem TNCs such Monsanto, Pioneer/DuPont, Dow and Syngenta. Despite claims by US agrochemical giants that their export revenue sales fell by 1.3% in 2000, there was an undeniable 4.3% rise in US revenues for 24 major agrochem corporations with total sales amounting to $7.9B in 2000.
"The farmers are outraged by how greed-driven these agrochem transnational corporations are. The monopoly of these agrochem giants over seeds, pesticides, and other agricultural products are driving us further into poverty, hunger and exploitation. While their crops are hooked on expensive chemicals, farmers will be forced into addiction to credit - at the expense of their freedom and the survival of their families," Mariano reiterated.
The KMP, together with the Resistance and Solidarity Against Agrochemical TNCs (RESIST! Agrochem TNCs) vowed to step up protests against Bt corn field testing and agrochem TNCs. The KMP and RESIST! announced their plan to launch a giant protest on April 4 as the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) celebrates its 42nd anniversary. ###
Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP)
Peasant Movement of the Philippines
Greenpeace Activists Block Soybean Shipment in Batangas
Philippine Daily Inquirer / Delfin T. Mallari Jr. 4feb02
BATANGAS CITY -- The Greenpeace environmental group yesterday tried to block the entry of at least 17,000 tons of soya beans being unloaded in the private wharf of the country's biggest supplier of soya oil claiming they were genetically engineered. The General Milling Corp.'s pier is located in the coastal village of Tabagao, some 6 km southwest of this city. To add drama to the protest action, at least five Greenpeace activists chained themselves near the unloading equipment of the Qui Gon Jinn cargo ship. The 190-meter long vessel reportedly arrived here last Friday loaded with soya, wheat and other farm cereals from the US. The Philippines buys about 300,000 tons of soybeans and over one million tons of soymeal annually, mainly from the US. Four Greenpeace members aboard two inflatable rubber boats attempted to magnetically attach a yellow banner that read "USA Stop Dumping GMOs on Asia" to the hull of the cargo ship. Another group of Greenpeace activists tried to occupy the unloading area of GMC early yesterday, but were stopped by the company's security guards. Dockworkers just watched the ongoing protest actions. One of the workers asked the INQUIRER if touching the soya was harmful. After a 30-minute dialogue with the GMC plant manager, Nelson Fandialan, the Greenpeace activists agreed to unchain themselves. Fundialan, who denied that the soya shipment was genetically engineered, refused to be interviewed.
"Asia should not be a dumping ground for genetically contaminated products," said Beau Baconguis, genetic engineering campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia in the Philippines. "We should not be forced to feed our children with food the rest of the world is increasingly rejecting."
Companies have been developing genetically modified crops to fight pests and plant diseases, but some consumers have balked at eating them fearing they could lead to health problems. Greenpeace reminded President Macapagal-Arroyo, who is now in the US, of her promise to protect consumers from genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Baconguis recalled that almost a year ago, the President declared her position on GMOs, saying she would not be initiating or pushing for their experimentation. She added that Agriculture Secretary Leonardo Montemayor had promised a system of labeling to ensure that consumers would be able to make an informed choice on genetically modified products. "To date, there remains no regulation to address concerns on GMOs," Baconquis said. Greenpeace has claimed that the US genetically engineered industry has exploited the fact that most countries lack regulation on GE food and have no system in place to monitor or test their safety. GMC is a fully owned Filipino corporation and also has facilities for feed milling, corn milling, agribusiness and fermentation. Its products include Granny Goose corn chips, Home Pride and Magnifico pasta, Red Star and Baker's Yeast, General Flour, KDO Instant Coffee, FreshRoast Ground Coffee, General Feeds, Home Pride brand soya oil, palm- olein oil, and vegetable oil, and White Tower and Camel starch. The company's Tabangao plant is a soybean extraction and storage facility and produces mainly soya oil and soymeal for feeds. Greenpeace said almost all companies in the country that use soya oil source their oil from GMC. The firm mainly imports soybeans from the United States. More than 60 percent of the US soya crop is genetically engineered and this is largely mixed with the non- GE crops, Greenpeace claimed. "As a result, almost all US soya should be considered suspect," Baconguis said. She said the Philippines leads Asia in soya imports from the US. Baconguis disclosed that as the protest was going on, the Greenpeace Manila office received a call from Sen. Gregorio Honasan and Marikina Rep. Del de Guzman. The two legislators said they would both file a resolution today that would call for an investigation of the entry into the country of GE farm products. "We look at it as an initial victory for the long struggle ahead," she said.
Sent by Norfolk Genetic Information Network (ngin), http://www.ngin.org.uk 4feb02
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