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DENR push for GMOs raises serious concern

/ 01:27 AM August 09, 2011

Should our country allow the planting of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) for human consumption? According to a recent report (“DENR exec pushes for genetically modified organisms in food production,” Inquirer, 7/20/11), Marcial Amaro Jr., national director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (DENR-ERDB) said that “Biotechnology, including genetically modified organisms, could help ensure food security for the country.” He also said that critics “have pre-conditioned their minds that GMOs were hazardous to human and environmental safety even if they did not have basis.”

The No2GMOs Coalition is alarmed by Amaro’s statements. Is he ignorant of the risks GMOs pose to the environment and the health of humans and animals?

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Long-term animal studies have exposed the adverse effects of GM crops, such as BT corn on animal health. BT eggplant and Golden Rice are being developed for human consumption but the “adequate safety measures” Amaro mentioned do not include tests to see if GM crops are safe for humans to eat? India rejected BT eggplant because the government was not convinced of its safety?

Amaro talked about food security. Can he explain now to local farmers that they will now have to buy patented seeds from foreign multinationals every time they plant? Will this advance our country’s food security if we have to perpetually rely on foreign multinationals for our seeds?

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Now that the Organic Agriculture Act has been passed, Amaro should support organic agriculture. Organic crops cannot coexist with GMOs which contaminate it with GM pollen. Besides, GM crops use large quantities of poisonous chemical pesticides and herbicides adding to the chemical pollution of our soils.

Director Amaro says that biosafety measures are strictly followed, but field testing of BT eggplant was done in total disregard of the required protocol stated in the Department of Agriculture’s Administrative Order No. 8 (DAO 8). There were no public hearings and publications conducted as required.

We in the NO2GMO Coalition urge Amaro to adhere to the precautionary principle enshrined in the Cartagena Protocol. Let us intensify our fight against GMOs as our government, which is supposed to protect our environment and health and promote food security, is sadly failing to do so.

—GRACE CHUA,
No2GMOs Coalition,
[email protected]

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TAGS: BT corn, BT eggplant, Genetically modified organisms, Golden Rice, Organic Agriculture Act
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