SC issues writ of Kalikasan vs genetically modified rice, eggplant | Inquirer News

SC issues writ of Kalikasan vs genetically modified rice, eggplant

/ 12:29 PM April 20, 2023

Petitioners asked the Supreme Court on Monday to declare Republic Act 11934, or the Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) Registration Act, as unconstitutional.


MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court has issued a writ of Kalikasan stopping the commercial release of genetically modified rice and eggplant products.

A writ of Kalikasan is a legal remedy for the protection of one’s right to “a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature” under Section 16, Article II of the Constitution.


The writ was issued in connection with the petition filed by Magsasaka at Siyentipiko Para sa Pag-Unlad ng Agrikultura (Masipag).


The petition sought to stop the government from commercially releasing the products, insisting that Golden Rice and Bacillus thuringiensis Eggplant (Bt Eggplant) are genetically modified organisms, a cause for environmental concern.

SC ordered respondents to the Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Health (DOH), Director of the Bureau of Plant Industry of the DA, the Philippine Rice Research Institute, and the University of the Philippines-Los Baños (UPLB) to file a verified return within 10 days from service.

Aside from refraining from commercially propagating Golden Rice and Bt Eggplant, the group also urges the SC to issue a cease and desist order against commercially propagating it until such time that proof of safety and compliance with legal requirements is shown. They also want all biosafety permits issued to be declared null and void.

The group also wants the government to perform independent risks and impact assessments, obtain the prior and informed consent of farmers and indigenous peoples, and implement liability mechanisms in case of damage.

The group said both Golden Rice and Bt Eggplant are genetically modified organisms.

They said the Golden Rice, which is patented to Syngenta, a transnational agrochemical corporation, is modified rice by inserting a gene from maize and a gene from bacteria found in the soil allowing the plant to biosynthesize beta-carotene in the edible parts of rice.


On the other hand, they said the Bacillus thuringiensis Eggplant or Bt Eggplant was designed so that the plant itself would produce its own toxin to kill the fruit and shoot borer, the common pests that damage eggplants.

In 2015, the SC already permanently stopped the government from conducting field trials, propagation, commercialization and importing GMOs used on plants to prevent health risks to humans and damage to the environment.

But in 2016, the SC reversed its decision stating that the writ of Kalikasan was mooted by the expiration of the Biosafety Permits issued by the Bureau of Plant Industry and the termination of Bt eggplant field trials subject to the permits.

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The 2016 ruling stated that Bt eggplant proponents neither went beyond the field-testing phase nor distributed the product commercially.


SC reverses ruling on Bt ‘talong’ tests

TAGS: bt eggplant, DENR, Department of Agriculture, Golden rice, Supreme Court, writ

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