300 militants destroy GMO rice samples in DA office
NAGA CITY, Philippines – At least 300 militants forced their way into the Department of Agriculture (DA) provincial office compound in Pili, Camarines Sur, and destroyed specimens of “golden rice,” a genetically modified organism (GMO).
Emily Bordado, public information officer of the DA in CamSur, said they were caught by surprise when the protesters, who were holding a rally on the Pili national highway, forced their way into the DA compound.
Bordado said the incident happened at past 8 a.m. when they were getting ready to hold a dialogue with the leaders of protesters belonging to the militant peasant group Masipag.
Dr. Evangeline dela Trinidad, chair of the DA CamSur’s institutional biosafety committee, said the protesters used a bolt cutter to destroy a metal fence around the DA compound and a barrier surrounding the GMO rice planted on one of the sections of the field.
“After getting through our security personnel and police, they danced around in the field like madmen and trampled on the rice plants,” she said.
Mary Espina, PhilRice field supervisor for the golden rice project, said the protesters were probably motivated by their “fear of the unknown,” being unknowledgeable of the objective of the government on GMOs.