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SC urged: Stop genetic ‘talong’ tests

/ 07:22 PM June 16, 2012

SAN PEDRO, Laguna—A group of farmers and scientists urged the Supreme Court to put on hold the remaining field trials of genetically modified eggplants until data on its possible effects on human and animal health become available.

On Friday, the nongovernment organization Magsasaka at Siyentipiko para sa Pag-Unlad ng Agrikultura (Masipag) and Sibol ng Agham at Teknolohiya  have asked the high tribunal to issue a writ of kalikasan to stop the field tests of genetically modified eggplants.

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The respondents in the petition were the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Department of Agriculture,  University of the Philippines (UP) Los Baños Foundation Inc., UP Mindanao Foundation Inc. and International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications.

The Supreme Court granted the petition on May 2 and ordered the respondents to answer in 60 days.

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The court is expected to issue another order to stop the tests and hold public consultations on genetically modified organisms, according to Dr. Chito Medina, Masipag national coordinator.

Medina, in a phone interview, said the field testing of genetically modified eggplant, which started in various sites in the Philippines in 2010, continued in Kabacan, North Cotabato, while field trials in Pangasinan, Laguna and Camarines Sur ended in 2011.

In 2010, the city government of Davao stopped the field trial and ordered the uprooting of Bt eggplants for lack of public consultation, while Baybay in Leyte and Sta. Barbara in Iloilo passed municipal resolutions to ban the testing.

“If the multilocation trials of the genetically modified eggplants persist, they will pose serious threats not only to farmers, but also to consumers’ health and the environment as well,” Medina said.

He said the field trials may contaminate other eggplant varieties through cross-pollination.

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TAGS: Agriculture, Biotechnology, eggplant, Genetic engineering, Laws
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