In the closing seconds of a news broadcast Thursday evening last week, well-known TV news anchor Ted Failon expressed serious disappointment over the apparent absence of action and protest on the part of environmental groups against China.
His remark followed news reports about the presence of Chinese fishing boats near Kalayaan islands in the West Philippine Sea. The Chinese fishermen were reportedly poaching rare and endangered marine species with nary a whimper from either the authorities or so-called activists who supposedly champion environmental causes.
“Where’s Greenpeace?” Failon wondered.
Well, Greenpeace at this point may not have much time or energy left to confront a super power like China over the reported rape of our marine resources. We doubt if Greenpeace would want to be seen as siding with the Philippines in its conflict with China. After all, Greenpeace is still “at war” against causes close to the heart of Filipinos.
And, if Failon is surprised and disappointed that Greenpeace is not going after Chinese poachers, it’s because it is Filipino scientists and farmers whom the powerful European pressure group is busy chasing after.
Greenpeace is currently very focused in blocking an attempt by our farmers and scientists to get the Supreme Court to lift the ‘writ of kalikasan’ used by the Court of Appeals (CA) to halt field trials of an eggplant variety which does not need chemical pesticides to survive.
It will be recalled that Greenpeace had steadily waged a high profile war against Filipino scientists led by former University of the Philippines president Emil Javier. Greenpeace had tapped the country’s judicial system in its bid to ensure that our farmers never get to plant the Bt Talong variety .
The variety does not require chemical pesticides manufactured and sold by European business interests because of its built-in ability to resist pest attacks.
Last we heard from the legal community, the High Court is now preparing to hear the petition for certiorari against the CA-issued writ, which was filed by the Filipino science community, several government agencies and other groups supporting the use of modern technology to free our farmers from overdependence on chemical pesticides.
Some Filipino farmers’ groups and other organizations have filed motions to intervene in the case, which means they would like their voices heard as well. The SC is expected to rule on these motions anytime soon.
Greenpeace is reportedly gearing up for this battle royale against our Filipino farmers and scientists. That’s to be expected. A Greenpeace victory in the SC could send signals all over Asia and the world that it can pulverize any and all opposition to its campaign against pesticide-free crop varieties.
Moreover, a win before the High Court will be a valuable reaffirmation of Greenpeace’s financial and political muscle, which has made it one of the most feared pressure groups in the world.
It’s just sad that the world is not about to see that muscle being used against those who plunder our precious marine resources. We will have to be contented with Greenpeace’s display of raw power in the Philippine judicial arena.
Should Greenpeace get the Philippine High Court to rule in its favor and against our Filipino farmers and scientists, chemical pesticide manufacturers and distributors will also share in its victory.
Unfortunately, our food producers who had hoped to gain access to crop varieties that don’t use European-made pesticides won’t be able to partake of that victory.
Filipinos should, however, keep its faith in the wisdom and fairness of the Supreme Court. True, the resources of our farmers and scientists are puny compared to the war chest that Greenpeace has prepared for its battle against them.
But our farmers and scientists will get their day in court. They will be heard and our justices will surely listen. That alone ought to give cause for hope that despite the financial and political might of Greenpeace, reason will prevail over myths, scare-tactics and pseudo-science.
And even if Filipinos lose to the might of Greenpeace, they shouldn’t lose hope. The world already knows at this point that science has already discovered a way to free our farmers and farms from overdependence on chemical pesticides.
Someday, somehow, our food producers will gain access to the benefits of science. Someday, Filipinos can get to eat pesticide-free vegetables.
True, Greenpeace’s fearsome might may have what it takes to get courts to rule in its favor.
But there is might, too, in the Filipino’s ability to hold on to hope.