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. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. Opinions split on Napoles turning state witness
  3. Delfin Lee: Blame Pag-Ibig, not me
  4. Plunder complaint filed vs PNP chief, firearms office head over license delivery deal
  5. Cedric Lee’s cohort flies out of PH despite look-out order – De Lima
  6. San Juan cops fail to arrest Cedric Lee
  7. More ‘Yolanda’ bodies found
  8. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  9. Lawyer: Napoles ‘will tell all’
  10. Boy ‘sexually assaulted’ at Indonesia international school
  1. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima
  2. Gigi Reyes pins blame on aide
  3. Estrada: Gigi Reyes won’t testify vs JPE
  4. Bernice Lee arrested by NBI team
  5. Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’
  6. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  7. Suspect in Vhong Navarro’s mauling wants to turn state witness – De Lima
  8. Reckless driver endangered lives of Aquino, entourage–report
  9. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  10. Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  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. Cudia, dismissed for lying, got 99% in conduct
  8. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  9. Hammer-wielding robbers cause chaos at Philippines’ Mall of Asia
  10. Napoles spills beans on Enrile, Estrada, Revilla – De Lima


  • Palace prepared to charge its allies
  • 12 senators on Napoles ‘pork’ list, says Lacson
  • PNP chief on plunder raps: ‘Amateurish’
  • Makati readies 12-month traffic plan for Skyway 3
  • Heard on Radyo Inquirer 990AM
  • Sports

  • Mixers trim Aces, force do-or-die tiff
  • Donaire junks Garcia as coach, taps father
  • ’Bye Ginebra: No heavy heart this time
  • UAAP board tackles new rules
  • Baguio climb to decide Le Tour de Filipinas
  • Lifestyle

  • Entering the monkhood a rite of passage
  • Haneda International Airport: A destination on its own
  • Wanted: Beauty queen with a heart that beats for the environment
  • Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  • Life lessons I want to teach my son
  • Entertainment

  • Return of ‘Ibong Adarna’
  • Practical Phytos plans his future
  • In love … with acting
  • From prison to the peak of success
  • ‘Asedillo’ location thrives
  • Business

  • PH banks not ready for Asean integration
  • Stocks down on profit-taking
  • Banks allowed to use ‘cloud’
  • SMIC to issue P15-B bonds
  • Honda upgrades PH plant
  • Technology

  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Engineers create a world of difference
  • Bam Aquino becomes Master Splinter’s son after Wiki hack
  • Mark Caguioa lambasts Ginebra teammates on Twitter
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 24, 2014
  • Talking to Janet
  • Respite
  • Bucket list
  • JPII in 1981: walking a tightrope
  • Global Nation

  • 19 Ukrainians, Russians, Filipinas rescued in bar raid
  • Filipinos coming home from Mideast must obtain MERS clearance – DOH
  • US Secret Service in Manila ahead of Obama visit
  • Palace thanks Estrada for successful HK mission
  • Hong Kong accepts PH apology; sanctions also lifted
  • Marketplace