President of the Philippines, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, was asked yesterday to review her anti-GM stance and allow field experiments with GM crops to take place.
The call for reconsideration came from farmers who argued in a two-page letter that the crops would prove beneficial. “We farmers,” the letter read, “want to be liberated from the use of toxic chemicals and shift towards the use of environment-friendly biotechnology (crops) like the use of pest-resistant Bt (bacillus thuringiensis) corn.”
A recent statement by Macapagal-Arroyo revealed her own opposition to Gm experiments, and farmers are anxious to ensure that field tests with Bt corn continue. The corn borer pest is a significant threat to farmers, one that Bt corn can potentially alleviate.
“If farmers don’t make enough money out of corn, the industry is going to die just like what happened to the cotton industry,” added Felipe Uy, managing director of the Southern Mindanao Federation of Agricultural Cooperatives.
“Before listening to the noisy propaganda of those trying to control and influence your mind, Madame President,” the letter continued, “give time and listen to the voice of the farmers in the countryside who are directly involved in food production.”
Responding to the farmer’s letter, agriculture secretary Leonardo Q. Montemayor maintained that Macapagal-Arroyo has made no clear decision on GM crops yet, and would be continuing with research.