Will SC hear farmers on biotech row?


THERE was a piece of good news that came the way of the country’s science community recently. The good news was that the Supreme Court (SC) has granted the petition of a non-governmental organization (NGO) composed of members of the academe and research institutions to intervene and have the voices of its members heard by the High Court.

This positive development came after a series of setbacks suffered by the country’s science community in the hands of the powerful European pressure group Greenpeace. The Amsterdam-based group, it will be recalled, has long declared an open war against our scientists in a bid to prevent the latter from using modern agriculture biotechnology to develop pest-resistant, pesticide-free crop varieties.

Greenpeace, which reportedly has a war chest worth hundreds of millions of eurodollars, had earlier scored a major victory against our scientists. The powerful group managed to get the Court of Appeals (CA) to stop our scientists from completing field trials for a biotech eggplant variety. This, after years of hysterical propaganda campaigns to stop our farmers from growing biotech plant varieties.

These kinds of underhanded gimmicks have led Greenpeace’s co-founder and ex-leader-turned-critic, Dr. Patrick Moore, to recently denounce the European pressure group’s “scare tactics and disinformation which abandons science and logic in favour of emotion and sensationalism.” Moore, who has emerged as one of Greenpeace’s strongest opponents, confirmed that “organisations like Greenpeace…have made it lucrative to obstruct…”

Good thing our scientists have appealed the CA ruling extracted by Greenpeace to the SC. They are now asking the SC to lift the stop order and allow them to finish their scientific work. As expected, Greenpeace has mobilized all its resources to prevent the SC from granting the petition of our scientists.

Earlier, there were speculations that our scientists may be fighting a losing war before the SC, given the financial and political might of Greenpeace.

Some of the fears may have been assuaged after the SC granted the petition of the scientists to be allowed to present their positions in support of biotechnology in connection with the case now before the High Court.

As mentioned in our previous column, a member of the country’s science community was once the object of derisive remarks spewed out by one of the local mouthpieces recruited by Greenpeace – a Makati socialite who is reportedly running one of the country’s biggest organic food business.

The Makati socialite had lambasted our scientists for conducting field trials for biotech crops in what was supposed to be a “protest rally” organized by her during one of the weekend organic markets she runs in a posh section of Makati’s affluent residential area.

The presence of various NGOs in the case now before the SC further highlights the fact that the biotech controversy in the country is a conflict between our farmers and scientists and these putative activists. With the NGOs coming in, our SC magistrates will hear more voices of reason and science. This is a welcome development since the issue has so far been dominated by the hysterical voices of Greenpeace’s local mouthpieces.

Several farmer groups from different parts of the country have also reportedly petitioned the SC to be allowed to present their position on the issue. These are farmers who are asking to be allowed to exercise their right to choose what crop variety they want to plant. They apparently view the CA ban on biotech field testing as a deprivation of that right.

We hope our farmers are given the proverbial day in court. After all, they are the biggest stakeholder in this issue. It is their right to choose and their freedom of choice which will be directly affected by the outcome of this case.

Is Greenpeace a really a stakeholder too in this case?

Based on the recent SC resolution, it looks like Greenpeace is not really an authentic stakeholder. According to the NGO intervenor, Greenpeace “has no actual, direct and immediate stake in the subject of the litigation.”

We tend to agree.

Just like what its scientists said, the Amsterdam-based Greenpeace “does not have assets or properties affected by the biotechnology field trials.”

This is why many of our countrymen are baffled as to why this European group has poured all its resources here just to thwart the efforts by Filipino scientists to help solve our country’s food sufficiency and nutrition challenges.

What really is Greenpeace’s agenda in our country? Why is it spending hundreds of millions of eurodollars just to prevent our farmers from planting pesticide-free crop varieties?

Your guess is as good as ours.


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1 Comment

  1. James Barcelona on

    Greenpeace has a stake in the battle against Frankenstein food,or GMO,we all are! The single, one important question scientists and promoters of GMO can’t with certainty answer is, would these all biotech or modified microorganisms be safe in the years to come? Would it be safe for all generations to come? If their answer is NO or they just kept quiet and refused to respond, then by all means, and all the resources of all governments must stop these until we find out what thesewould bring about! Moneyed,greedy multinational companies are pushing for these. GMOs are just that, altered food for profit without regard for human life’s existence and continued propagation!