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SC issues writ of kalikasan vs. golden rice, eggplant product

The Supreme Court said Wednesday it has issued a writ of kalikasan against several government agencies and organizations to stop the release of genetically modified rice and eggplant products.

During its En Banc session on Tuesday, the High Court required the respondent secretaries of the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Department of Health, the Bureau of Plant Industry, the Philippine Rice Institute, and the University of the Philippines-Los Baños to file a verified return within 10 days.

This stemmed from the petition filed by the Magsasaka at Siyentipiko Para sa Pag-Unlad ng Agrikultura et al. for the issuance of a temporary environmental protection order to cease and desist the propagation of Golden Rice and Bt Eggplant until proof of safety and compliance with legal requirements is shown.

The petitioners also asked the Court to direct the DA to perform independent risks and impact assessments, obtain the prior and informed consent of farmers and indigenous peoples, and implement liability mechanisms in case of damage, among others.

According to the SC, the petitioners said that Golden Rice was modified by inserting a gene from maize and a gene from bacteria found in soil which allows the plant to biosynthesize beta-carotene in the edible parts of rice.

The petitioners also argued that the BT Eggplant was designed so that it could produce its own toxin to kill a common pest that consumes and damages eggplants.—AOL, GMA Integrated News