Latest Stories

DA to sue ‘paid residents, not farmers’ over destroyed GMO crops

By ,

SAN PEDRO, Laguna, Philippines—The Department of Agriculture (DA) is building up a case against a group of farmers responsible for the August 8 attack on a field testing site of the controversial Golden Rice in Pili, Camarines Sur.

As of Thursday, the police have identified six persons from a horde of anti-GMO (genetically modified organism) activists, who forced their way into the DA’s experiment plot and uprooted the crops being tested there.

Chief Insp. Benjamin Spana, the police chief of Pili, declined to release their names until a formal case of malicious mischief and damage to property is lodged in the court.

He, however, said the DA has placed the cost of the damage at P1.3 million.

“I was told that (the) police identified some of them as young residents from Naga (City) paid to cause the damage. We believe none of them are farmers because farmers wouldn’t damage crops like that,” DA Bicol director Abelardo Bragas said by phone Thursday.

The Golden Rice is a new rice variety genetically engineered to produce beta-carotene. It is being developed by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and DA’s Philippine Rice Research Institute as a potential means to fight Vitamin A deficiency.

In a text message, IRRI Deputy Director General for Communications and Programs Dr. Bruce Tolentino echoed a statement from Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala that the research should be completed.

“We call on all concerned to respect the rule of law,” Tolentino said.

Environment and farmers’ groups have opposed the use of genetic modification, which generally meant altering the natural gene pool, until studies disprove its risks to human safety and biodiversity.

“We are not anti-science. In fact, we want more science done to establish first the molecular characteristics and the scrambling effects of rumbling and reassigning genes,” said environmental scientist Dr. Chito Medina, the national coordinator of the Magsasaka at Siyentipiko para sa Pag-unlad ng Agrikultura (Masipag).

Masipag, an alternative group of scientists based in Los Baños, Laguna, on Thursday held a press briefing in Quezon City to back the 400 Bicolono farmers and members of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Bikol and Sararong Inisyatiba nin Kahinwanmaan na Wasakon ang Agrokemikals na Lasong-GMO who joined the DA rally.

In a phone interview, Media said the Golden Rice field trials went ahead without public consultation, environmental impact assessment, and prior safety tests on “surrogate animals”—the same reasons similar experiments in the US and China were stopped.

He questioned the need for developing such a variety, even with the availability of other crops, such as the yellow sweet potato and green leafy vegetables, which have proven to be better sources of Vitamin A.

“Sometimes science is being abused and misused even if the intention was good,” he said.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Agriculture , Benjamin Spana , Camarines Sur , Crime , damage to property , Department of Agriculture , genetically modified organism , Global Nation , Golden rice , malicious mischief , Pili , Police

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  2. Gigi Reyes back to face charges
  3. SC suspends proctor in 2011 bar exams
  4. What Went Before: Enrile denies Gigi Reyes was ‘other woman’
  5. In the know: Gigi Reyes
  6. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  7. At 77, Erap has Easter treat for Manila cops but keeps City Hall folk in agony
  8. Solons seek ample protection for bank depositors
  9. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  10. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  5. ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  6. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  7. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  8. Massive infra spending set
  9. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  10. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  4. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  5. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  6. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  7. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
  8. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  9. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  10. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia


  • Bad weather halts rescue after deadliest Everest disaster
  • Gigi Reyes has no other option but to turn state witness — Santiago
  • US weighing military exercises in Eastern Europe
  • Rains loom in Surigao as LPA nears
  • Sub search for missing jet to be finished in week
  • Sports

  • Nick Calathes suspension a reminder of supplement risk
  • Teague scores 28 as Hawks soar past Pacers in Game 1
  • Warriors beat Clippers in playoff opener
  • Pacquiao top Mayweather contender
  • Rain or Shine, Ginebra clash for No. 6 spot
  • Lifestyle

  • Noli Yamsuan, Cardinal Sin’s ‘official’ photographer: ‘I could smell the aftershave lotion of the Pope’
  • Simplifying and lightening life
  • Where to go for Easter night-out
  • Joe de Venecia visits the Queen Mother of Cambodia
  • Fashionistas flock to designer’s wedding
  • Entertainment

  • Show-biz celebrities’ other choices of summer getaway
  • Why ‘Noah’ can’t dock his ark at Philippine theaters
  • Acclaimed artist goes wild while on holiday
  • Believing in this mermaid
  • Missing Xian
  • Business

  • Top-selling insurance agent opens her dream café
  • Connecting and transacting with one another
  • Building wealth for health
  • Why Mandaue Foam buys, rather than rents, space
  • A workplace of new possibilities
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Epiphany
  • Unpaid creditor vs distressed debtor
  • Moving on
  • From culinary desert to paradise
  • Response to China: ‘Usjaphil’
  • Global Nation

  • Asia seeks Obama’s assurance in territorial spats
  • Cesar Chavez movie sparks memories of Fil-Am labor leaders
  • Filipinos in US poised for success
  • Visas for priests and other faith leaders
  • DOH to continue tracking co-passengers of OFW infected with MERS virus
  • Marketplace