Statement of Hunger Strikers against GMO in Phillipines

On May 20, we began the 24-Hour Indignation Fast Against the
Macapagal-Arroyo Government and Monsanto, joined by supporters from many
parts of the country and of the world. Together, we are ending today that
one-fast as well as the 30 days of hunger strike against Bt corn, sealing
our common commitment to continue the fight against Bt corn and other
genetically-engineered foods until victory is at hand.

Our 30-day hunger strike inspired opposition to GMO crops everywhere and
drew widespread support. We have thrust the Bt corn issue into the national
limelight as an important health, environmental, economic and political
concern. We have raised public awareness about the urgency of the issue. We
have directed public focus on the culpability and liability of President
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Secretary Luis Lorenzo Jr. and Monsanto in
contaminating our local corn.

We have shown the hunger strike an effective form of calling government,
media and public attention. Our non-violent action inspired opposition to
GMO crops everywhere and drew widespread support from many sectors, in many
parts of the country and of the world.

We have created many new opportunities, fronts, platforms and linkages for
the campaign against GM food. These were achieved not by the hunger strikers
alone, but by the entire movement that the hunger strike generated.

The media deserve special mention. Initially drawn by the novelty of our
action, their regular coverage and exposure to our arguments eventually led
them to appreciate the issues themselves. Now, the Bt corn issue is a
legitimate media concern, hunger strike or not.

We end our hunger strike in order to continue to fight in the new spaces and
platforms that our hunger strike created. We have achieved much of our
objectives. We did not get a moratorium due not to our failure but to the
failure of government: it has violated its own laws and processes, reneged
on its commitment to protect the people from harms and dangers, and taken
the side of a foreign giant that wants to control our food supply.

We did everything humanly possible to stop the Bt seeds at the source. But
the government failed us. We must now exert similar efforts to make sure the
Bt corn contamination does not spread quickly. We must also stop the entry
of other GMO crops such as rice and cotton.

We must now expand and deepen the reach of the movement that emerged out of
our hunger strike. We must continue to ask the government of Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo to account for its criminal negligence in allowing the Bt
corn seeds to be distributed nationwide, despite valid health, environmental
and other safety concerns and questions raised about their economic impact
on farmers. We must continue to ask the government to stop all field
releases of all GMO crops. We must draw Congress into the debate. We must
ask that the rights of farmers and consumers be protected, particularly the
right to be informed and to choose what kind of seeds to use and what kind
of food to eat.

We are ready to fight on.

Hunger strikers: Luisita Esmao, Roberto Verzola, Arma Bertuso, Mark
Cervantes, Anne Larracas, Gigie Cruz, Antonio Claparols, Rei Panaligan, Fr.
Robert Reyes, Andrew Haralam, Manny Onalan, Roy Cabonegro, and Elmer Tadeo

We urge all our friends and supporters from all over the world to send
statements of support to the Indefinite Hunger Strike, to the Office of the
Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Secretary Luis Lorenzo, by fax
+63 2 9298183 or email seclorenzo@da.gov.ph and please copy to SEARICE's fax
number (63 2 9226710) or email searice@searice.org.ph

Thank you very much for your support.

Ms. Elenita C. Dao Executive Director South East Asia Regional Initiatives
for Community Empowerment (SEARICE)
Units 208/331 Eagle Court Condominium
26 Matalino Street, Diliman, Quezon City Tel. Nos.: (632) 922-6710, 433-7182
Email: searice@searice.org.ph

AMP Section Name:Food and Agriculture
  • 181 Food and Agriculture

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