Justice department asked to reject group's case-A A +A
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
THE Philippine office of a global environmental group has asked the government to reject a case filed by an organization that has conducted field tests of genetically-engineered eggplant in Bay, Laguna.
Greenpeace asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) to reject the malicious mischief case filed by the Institute of Plant Breeding (IPB), after it undertook a decontamination activity at the latter's field trial site.
The malicious mischief case "has no merit at all," Greenpeace said in a statement.
The group added that it took action "because the IPB had unleashed GMOs in an open field that posed a serious threat to human health, the environment, and to food security, and is highly likely to contaminate other crops."
Greenpeace activists merely exercised their environmental rights as informed citizens, the statement added.
Field trials of genetically-modified crops, including eggplant and rice, among others, "are a violation of the rights of farmers and consumers to safe food, a safe environment and a secure livelihood," Daniel Ocampo, Sustainable Agriculture Campaigner of Greenpeace Southeast Asia, said.
Moreover, Greenpeace said the Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) talong "has not undergone thorough evaluation in confined conditions by a safety committee to eliminate risks to health and the environment, and yet is already being released into the environment through field trials, in blatant disregard of scientific requirements such as the Precautionary Principle."
"Our food chain is thus in danger of contamination from an experiment," Greenpeace said.
"These field trials are being conducted without proper public consultation, as required by law, and despite major opposition from farmers' groups and scientists. It is the IPB and everyone involved with the release of this GMO that have to answer for such transgressions," Ocampo added.
Although the genetically-modified eggplant has been developed to contain a built-in pesticide against the fruit-and-shoot borer insect, leading experts such as Dr. Pushpa Bhargava to warn that the Bt eggplant has not been properly tested for health and environment impacts, much less over generations.
Bhargava is a leading geneticist who coined the term "genetic engineering."
In November last year, the City Agriculturist's Office of Davao went to the Bt eggplant field trial site of the IPB in UP Mindanao to finally stop the open field trials after GMO proponents failed to heed a cease-and-desist directive from the local government unit. (Sunnex)