Reference: Lany Guaves, spokesperson ng SIKWAL-GMO
As we mark today’s internationally recognized protest day, August 8, against Genetically modified organism (GMO), Sararong Inisyatiba Para Wasakon Ang Lasong GMO (SIKWAL – GMO) holds region-wide protest caravan to oppose the field and feed testing of genetically modified golden rice here in Bicol.
“This is not the answer to poverty and food shortage among Bicolanos and the entire popolation. GMOs just worsens our health and the environment,” Lany Guaves, spokesperson ng SIKWAL-GMO said.
The Bicol Alliance Against GMO is with peasants and other sectors to protest such move of the government to promote GMOs instead of organic farming.
The protest action will take place in Camarines Sur from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm holding pickets infront of Department of Agriculture (DA) – V office, National Food Authority (NFA), Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and National Irrigation Administration (NIA).
“We have opposed foreign control over agriculture and the Agro-chemical Trans National Corporations which mainly promotes golden rice in connivance with government agencies of Duterte regime particularly the Department of Agriculture (DA), International Rice Research Institute (IIRI) and Phil Rice,” Guaves said.
“Golden Rice is another type of high input variety that has been applied to the use of high quantities of manure and pesticide sentiment which has long been opposed by farmers. Trans-National-Corporations (TNCs) such as Syngenta and Monsanto, philanthropic foundations, USAID together with the IRRI, Philrice, Golden Rice Humanitarian Board (GRHB), DA and the foreign capitalists promote this to earn huge profits while concealing the creation of Golden Rice which for them is intended for “humanitarian purposes,” Guaves added.
These TNCs control variety and seed patents and earning nearly 30 billion dollars a year while our farmers’ livelihoods continue to decline – the main producer of our food mainly rice according to Guaves.
“TANSONG PANGAKO ANG PALAY NA GINTO! The promise of Golden Rice or Vitamin A-Rice does not have a scientific basis and has no consideration for other aspects of Vitamin A Deficiency (VAD) and hunger. Because of poverty, the problem is not just VAD but also the lack of various nutrition. Golden Rice is not a solution to a worsening food insecurity but can further worsen the situation of the people’s hunger,” Guaves said.
SIKWAL – GMO also condemns the massive conversion of agricultural land to commercial, industrial and residential use resulting in the loss or reduction of farmland for basic food (rice) and agricultural products here in Bicol region.
SIKWAL – GMO also supports the demand of Samahan ng mga Organisasyon sa Patubig Laban sa Pagbayad sa NIA (SAGOP NA)to the regional office of NIA to present concrete report on how it implemented RA 10969 or the free irrigation services act from 2016 – 2018 in Bicol.
“The Free Irrigation Services Act (RA 10969) was already approved on February 2, 2018 and should be enforced even without its final Rules and Regulations (IRR). According to peasants, this is not true and not well-implemented while huge budget is allocated to NIA this year reaching almost P36 billion pesos,”Guaves said.
“We believe that the agricultural lands will be more productive and useful when there’s enough water that flows into the farms. The farming improves when irrigation is adequate. Farmers are able to identify effective crops according to the status of the area. It is therefore desirable that peasant organizations administer the irrigation system because they have more knowledge of farming,” Guaves added.
SIKWAL – GMO resists golden rice and call for the spread of many alternative ways to provide a solution to the rice production crisis. Defend the existence of the Genuine Agrarian Reform Program and conduct the diversified farming and the collectivization of production.