Greenpeace activists march to the office of the Department of Agriculture in Quezon City to spur support for food and environmental safety
Greenpeace activists and supporters bombarded the Department of Agriculture today with messages urging the government to put a stop to field trials of genetically-modified organisms (GMOs). On World Environment Day, members sent thousands of texts, calls, tweets, Facebook messages and faxes addressed to Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, the group said. “This is a call for transparency and accountability,” said Daniel Ocampo, sustainable agriculture campaigner for Greenpeace Southeast Asia. “GMOs are harmful to human health and the environment and blatantly contradict organic and ecological agriculture," he said. In the past months, non-governmental groups have called on the Philippines to stop field trials and releases of GMOs but the Department of Agriculture has not taken any measures, activists say. Independent studies have shown that planting GMOs in open fields creates a serious environmental problem that has long-term, irreversible impacts on biodiversity and presents significant negative impacts to human health, Greenpeace said in a statement. The Philippine government has not rejected any GMO applications since 2002, approving to date a total of 67 varieties, the organization said. In April, environmentalists petitioned the Supreme Court to stop the proliferation of GMOs in the country. The court granted a writ of Kalikasan (or writ of nature) in May, halting field trials of a strain of genetically modified eggplant.