Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Study reveals drawbacks of GM corn
Famers tell of rising prices, environment and health concernsEnvironment group Greenpeace protests entry of Bt-corn in the Philippines (Photo courtesy of Greenpeace)
- ucanews.com reporter, Manila
- August 24, 2012
"News that farmers now prefer planting genetically modified Bt-corn should not encourage the Department of Agriculture to promote the controversial crop," said a statement today from the IBON Foundation, the independent peoplesâ€™ advocate who carried out the survey.
IBON conducted it earlier this year in partnership with Masipag, an agricultural scientistsâ€™ group. It concluded that smallholder corn farmers , estimated at about 270,000 around the country, often end up bankrupt and indebted to traders.
Marlon Malong, one of the farmers interviewed for the survey, said: "Corn farmers have no choice but to plant GM corn because the traders only sell GM corn seeds."
The study found that the cost of the seeds has increased by 282 percent from the introductory price. The herbicide, which used to be packaged with the GM corn seeds, is now sold separately.
Several farmers noted that after initially good harvests, crops need increasing volumes of fertilizers and agro-chemicals because of increased pestilence. This adds further to the cost and has an adverse impact on the land.
Some also complained of high interest payments on the loans offered to them by seed traders, who also act as financiers.
"I was jailed for a day because I failed to pay the financier," said Emily Alcasaren, a corn farmer in the town of Maayon in Capiz province.
Health issues were raised by a number of interviewees.Â Some farmers claimed to have experienced stomach pains, diarrhea, chest pains, itching and skin allergies reportedly after prolonged exposure to Bt-corn. Farmers and their families also reported numbness of lips and tongue after eating young GM corn.
However, government and agriculture officials say they are encouraging farmers to shift to the genetically modified version because it offers higher yields and production costs are purported to be lower.
Greenpeace seeks end to GMO trials