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KMP: Philippine peasants vs Bt-corn make news

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>KMP in the news
>Philippine Daily Inquirer
>(the Philippines most widely circulated broadsheet)
>28 June 1999
>Please check out the webpage article in
>DAVAO CITY--Farmers here are urging the government to ban the 
>commercialization of the genetically engineered Bt-corn.
>They said if the mutant corn was commercialized, the country would be at the 
>mercy of multinational corporations which control the trade of food, 
>chemicals and seeds and have exclusive rights over the new, 
>chemical-dependent seeds.
>The Kilusan ng mga Magbubukid sa Pilipinas (KMP) in a press statement said 
>Bt-corn is an ordinary zea mays L. infused with a gene from the bacteria 
>bacillus thuringensis that produces poison inside the plant to combat corn 
>Manuel Yap, head of the group Magsasaka at Siyentipiko para sa Ikauunlad ng 
>Agham Pang-agrikultura (Masipag) warned that Bt-corn "can breed with normal 
>corn and corn-related weeds in a process called 'genetic pollution.'"
>Bt-toxin, he said, can "kill beneficial and innocent insects and even turn 
>the corn borer into super pests resistant to the toxin."
>"This can cause massive crop failures when super pests attack traditional 
>corn nationwide, he said.
>If this happens, industrialized countries will benefit by dumping their 
>surpluses of corn and corn substitutes in the Philippines.
>The press statement said the barangay council of Lagao in General Santos 
>City passed a resolution on June 1 asking the National Committee on 
>Bio-safety of the Philippines (NCBP) to "reverse the impending approval" of 
>the release of genetically engineered corn by the seed and chemical 
>conglomerate Monsanto-Cargill.
>Searice, a nongovernment organization, said the NCBP is mandated to regulate 
>laboratory researches in enclosed gardens only, not those in field tests.
>The barangay council asked the city council to declare Gen. Santos free of 
>genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
>The KMP said human reaction to the Bt-toxin "remains untested'' but British 
>doctors "have linked animal and human illnesses to consuming GMOs because of 
>the popular use by the biotechnology industry of third genes called 
>'enhancers' and 'markers.'"
>"Markers are fragments of antibiotics which make it easier for technicians 
>to know if a breeding (program) has succeeded. Also, parts of deactivated 
>viruses, because of their infective character, are used as enhancers to 
>heighten the expression of the gene, for example, improved shelf-life, 
>flavor or color," the statement said.
>"Bt-corn contains markers from ampicillin, a popular antibiotic in the 
>Philippines, and contact with bacteria in the intestines of cattle and 
>humans can create super-germs that are immune to penicillin drugs," the 
>statement added.
>KMP chair Rafael Mariano said corporate biotechnology "has produced a series 
>of failures."
>The KMP said the Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan 
>(Kasama-TK) is also protesting a similar move by DuPont-Pioneer HiBred in 
>Barangay Masaya, Bay, Laguna.
>The statement quoted Kasama-TK president Jerry Mangubat as saying Bt-corn is 
>"the continuation of the Green Revolution which destroyed (the) 
>self-sufficiency of farmers."
>Mangubat said Monsanto and Pioneer promote pesticide use instead of 
>traditional manual labor to manage pests, "thus increasing landlessness and 
>unemployment in the countryside."
>The KMP said Pioneer controls 34 percent of the $1.33 billion US hybrid corn 
>market while Monsanto is the second largest agrochemical giant and third 
>largest seed company which bought eight other firms for $8.1 billion.
>Carolyn O. Arguillas, Chief,
>Philippine Daily Inquirer
>Mindanao Bureau
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