FW: [IM_GREEN] Bukidnon farmers protest Bt-Corn

Michael Keaney Michael.Keaney at mbs.fi
Wed Sep 5 02:16:32 MDT 2001


I got this, unsolicited and twice (so far), in my mailbox today. Having
cleaned up the formatting a bit, perhaps somebody here could shed light
on this/use it/let me know if they are familiar with the sender and/or
the originating discussion group.

-----Original Message-----
From: vgl [mailto:vgl at rp1.net]
Sent: 5. syyskuuta 2001 10:51
To: Undisclosed-Recipient:@mail.rp1.net;@mbs.fi;;;
Subject: Fw: [IM_GREEN] Bukidnon farmers protest Bt-Corn


Can you use this? v.g.lava,jr.

----- Original Message -----
From: BenCyrus Ellorin <bency at journalist.com>
To: <IM_GREEN at yahoogroups.com>
Cc: <pinoypress at yahoogroups.com>; <csccsd at codewan.com.ph>;
<mindanao1081 at yahoogroups.com>
Sent: Wednesday, September 05, 2001 10:09 AM
Subject: [IM_GREEN] Bukidnon farmers protest Bt-Corn


A "corn" to kill and die for
By BenCyrus G. Ellorin
Column, Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro, 04 Sept. 2001

It's greed in the highest form that made Monsanto Corp. order its
security people to shoot protesters of its mutant corn field testing in
Bukidnon

Last Friday, hundreds of farmers supported by non-government
organizations and the church staged a protest against the field testing
of
the genetically modified corn by the multi-national Monsanto Corporation
in
Kibawe, Bukidnon.

Bt-Corn as it is known is not really a corn, but an invention of
biotechnology. A gene of the soil toxin Bacillus thurengiensis (Bt) is
inserted in the corns chromosome to create this Bt-Corn. The objective
is
to develop a corn variety that is said to be resistant to pests like the
Asian Corn borer. It is however unclear, even to scientists what effect
these mutant corn would have on our environment and other plants.

Interesting. But scientists are still unsure of the other effects of
mixing animal genes to plants. In other parts of world, field testing of
this Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) has been banned. Its food
by-products are labeled in order to inform consumers that said food
contains
GMO. Known seasonings, corn and potato chips containing Bt-Corn are said
to
be in the local market.

In the Philippines, the National Committee on Biosafety of the
Philippines (NCBP) had approved the field testing of Bt-Corn in Kibawe,
Bukidnon. 31 other field testing sites have been approved by the NCBP.
Monsantos field testing of Bt-Corn is facing stiff opposition from
farmers
and environmental groups throughout the country.

In other parts of the world, like in Europe, they have shun away the
field testing of these mutant organisms. Characteristic of our third
world,
status, this mutant corn is now rammed down our throats.

In Tampakan, South Cotabato, farmers have uprooted the Bt-Corn being
field-tested by Monsanto last August 29, 2001. Farmers in General Santos
did
the same to Monsanto's field testing last year.

The farmers opposed to Monsanto's field testing in Bukidnon felt the
same. Their basis is that the field testing by Monsanto of the Bt-Corn
is
illegal. According to Laureto Camilo, a church lay leader in Kibawe, the
field testing was done without transparency. Farmers in Kibawe were not
consulted by Monsanto before the Bt-Corn field testing was started in
June.

The farmers of Kibawe have reason to fear. At 45 days last Friday, the
Bt-Corn that is planted in an experimental farm in Kibawe is already in
its
tillering (flowering) stage. Scientists and farmers alike are concerned
of
the effects of cross pollination from this mutant corn to other plants
in
the area. Their solution, that is uprooting the mutant corn is but
valid.

It is alarming that nobody among the past and present local government
officials of Kibawe would admit giving the go signal of the Monsanto
Bt-Corn
field testing. Kibawe's former mayor Paz Batao would now say that she
never
approved of the field testing. Incumbent mayor and former Municipal
Council
member Luciano Ligan would also deny giving the green light to
Monsanto's
field testing.

Although, there is a Municipal Council resolution approving the field
testing last year, both Batao and Lingan deny having something to do
with
it. Former Mayor Batao said that the resolution never reached her and
incumbent Mayor Ligan would say that he was absent when the said
resolution
was approved.

Mayor Ligan and other local officials do not really know about the
effect of Bt-Corn on the environment when asked by the media and the
protesting farmers. The only problem is that, they are unabashedly
defending
Monsanto's presence in the area.

Bobby Pagusara of Masipag-Mindanao (Magsasaka at Syentipiko para sa
Pag-unlad ng Agrikultura) is right when he said that Monsanto does have
an
iota of intention of making their field tests transparent. They are wary
of
consulting the people because they cannot assure the people that Bt-Corn
is
safe for the environment.

The people of Kibawe are confused and felt that they are being used as
a laboratory without their consent.

This is why, the farmers, supported by the church and environmental
groups nationwide decided last Friday to uproot the Bt-Corn illegally
field
tested by Monsanto in a 2,000 sq. m lot owned by the Municipality of
Kibawe
in West Poblacion only to be greeted by gunfire from the heavily-armed
guards of the company.

The security agency contracted by Monsanto to guard its Bt-Corn field
testing site is the Tagbagani Security Agency of cashiered Co. Alexander
Noble. This security group had earned notoriety for protecting agrarian
reform flashpoints like the Mapalad (Kisolon) and CARRUF (Valencia)
agrarian
reform areas.

It's greed in its highest form that made Monsanto Corp. order its
security people to shoot protesters of its mutant corn field testing in
Bukidnon.




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