PNFSP backs progressive legislators’ move to probe GM Golden Rice’s impact on health, environment an

Makabayan Legislators Congressman Ariel Casilao of Anakpawis Partylist and Congressman Isagani Carlos Zarate of Bayan Muna with Renmin Vizconde of Philippine Network of Food Security Programmes and Eloisa Delos Reyes and Cris Panerio of Masipag, Inc.

Manila, Philippines - The Philippine Network of Food Security Programmes (PNFSP), a network that advocates the attainment of food security in the country and addresses detrimental issues, joined the filing of House Resolution No. 1294 with progressive legislators at Philippine Congress last thursday, September 7, 2017, that calls for an investigation on the development of Genetically Modified (GM) Golden Rice in the country and its impact on health, environment, and farmers’ rights. Anakpawis Party-list (Toiling Masses) Representative Ariel Casilao and other lawmakers under the Makabayan (Patriotic) Coalition primarily authored the said resolution, in close coordination with people’s and non-government organizations, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP, Peasant Movement of the Philippines), Resist Agro-Chem TNCs alliance, PNFSP and Masipag. Casilao is also the primary author of House Bill No. 2719 that calls for a GMO-Free agricultural sector in the country or banning of GMO products.

“We are calling for the Philippine Congress to immediately scrutinize the development of the Golden Rice in the Philippine agriculture as the impact would be detrimental to the livelihood of the farmers, the health of the Filipino people and the environment” Renmin Vizconde, PNFSP Advocacy Officer said in a statement.

Vizconde said that GM Golden Rice is ill-suited, a program for profiteering, threat to public health, natural environment, and farmers’ rights.

“Malnutrition and its resultant blindness exist because the basic rights of the farmers and people to land, livelihood are disrupted, due to government neglect and absence of social services, and not because the rice variety they consume does not have Vitamin A, Golden Rice is baseless, unscientific and nothing but a sensationalized product of giant agro-chem corporations to lure super-profits,” Vizconde said.

She added that while there is a mounting call for its banning in the international community, Philippine agencies such as the agriculture department and Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) are accommodating the program, particularly the applications being lobbied by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) for its direct use for food, feed and processing, and field trials, such as in Nueva Ecija and Isabela, northern provinces of the country.

The GM product was primarily developed by IRRI, in partnership with giant agro-chem firm Syngenta, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation and USAID.

“The GM Golden Rice program is ill-suited as Philippine society is primarily agrarian where the majority of the farmers are landless, thus, they need is a genuine land reform program or free distribution of land, that will fundamentally secure their food and nutrition needs,” she ended. ###

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