By RENMIN CRISANTA VIZCONDE
Philippine Network for Food Security Programmes, Inc. (PNFSP)
The Philippine Network of Food Security Programmes, Inc. (PNFSP) is a broad network composed of 26 non-governmental organizations, institutions and advocates, promoting food security and food self-sufficiency. It is committed to advancing the right to food, and create conditions for women, men, and children of the most disadvantaged sectors to combat hunger and lead a healthy, active life. This is achieved through the advancement of sustainable agriculture and appropriate technology in rural communities, in partnership with its members.
We cannot deny the fact that our planet has long been suffering from severe and complex problems which emanated from anarchic production and waste from advanced industrialist countries originated from Industrial Revolution. Modern machines were made and new economic system was introduced to mankind. Capitalism took the responsibility and proclaimed that it is the dawn of a new era where mankind will experience great advancement in knowledge, science and methodology that civilization has never been experienced before. Ironically, it asserts that capitalism is the highest and last stage of human history. Sad to say that what happened is the opposite.
Technologically engineered products like plastics, robots and chemical-based agricultural crops like GMO’s, contaminate the natural virginity of our air, water and lands. It affects the indigenous, normal and regular flow of our ecosystem hence the climate change. Nature irregularities occurred each year and worst, many lives are taken by nature. Super typhoon and tsunamis, extreme earthquake, landslide, flood, plague, new diseases and hunger are the results. These now become our main concern and no one is exempted.
Another alarming concern is the continuous modification on seeds. Pioneered by the world’s biggest companies in agro-technology like Syngenta, Monsanto, Rockefeller Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and IRRI, they spend billions of dollars for modification projects. Masked with humanitarian morality of feeding the world and the hunger, they were able to deceive the public through partnership with government.
In the case of the Philippines, for the last quarter of 2017, more families experienced involuntary hunger. There were 3.6 Filipinos who did not have enough food to eat and alarmingly this cycle continuous to grow rapidly. Despite billions of government spending to alleviate poverty and ecosystems destruction, it seems that all measures are not enough. Corruption becomes a normal scenario in the Philippine politics at the expense of man and the environment’s health.
We must learn from the experience of other peripheral countries like Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Indonesia. When the International Conference on Golden Rice was held in Manila last April 1-6, they shared one common possible outcome regarding bio-fortification process. Contamination on land, water and air is feasible and its domino effect to humans will last until its fifth generation. Skin allergy and severe lung inflammation is the typical symptoms that may occur on anyone upon intake of the said genetically engineered crop.
To defend mother earth means to veer away from the dictates of these masters of trade. It is the long-standing demand of Filipinos, especially farmers, for agriculture to deviate away from the burdens of the GATT-WTO agreement. Rice production in the country has already suffered huge losses due to successive calamities and unfair competition from cheaper imported rice. Under a tarrification environment, government support to local agriculture and farmers could be further limited as the agreement calls for total state non-intervention. We view that the total liberalization of agriculture would only push the country’s population into a worsened state of hunger and food insecurity.
The government should heed the demand of Filipino farmers to pull-out from the aggressive GATT-WTO agreement and instead ensure the implementation of a nationalist and mass-oriented socio-political reform and implement free land distribution by passing the Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill. For through this law, our farmers have a better assurance for safe and sustainable right not only to food but for a better type of living; and through a national law, we can protect our society from harm that Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) may bring such as the golden rice.
We call on all concerned individuals including Civil Society Organizations to be responsible enough and avoid another public and environment disaster as a result of the Golden Rice. Instead of promoting Genetically Modified Organisms owned by giant Trans-National Companies, the Philippine government should focus its resources on supporting organic agriculture and develop our farmers’ skills. It should pass laws, like GARB, which can protect the land, people and environment against technology malpractice.
Quoting what a woman farmer leader from Quezon said is just and timely, that “land, farmers and food systems must be liberated from the control of corporate greed, GMOs and toxic products to combat malnutrition, hunger and poverty. Farmers’ right to land, seed and practices of sustainable and ecological agriculture must be supported to ensure safe, nutritious food and a thriving healthy ecology for all.”
Again, we want to reiterate this coming Earth Day what the Creator said to Its people: “and God blesses them, and God said unto them be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moved upon the earth.”
Therefore it is clear that we should protect our land against evil deeds and thought. Through collective action and prayer, we are certain that we can defeat corporate greed and plunder!
No to gmo! No to golden rice!
Yes to organic! Yes to mother earth!
Protect our planet against corporate greed and plunder! # nordis.net