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2-Plants: Monsanto says Bt-corn tests in Isabela/Philippines successful

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TITLE:  Firm says Bt-corn tests in Isabela successful
SOURCE: Philippine Daily Inquirer, by Villamor Visaya Jr.
DATE:   November 15, 2001

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Firm says Bt-corn tests in Isabela successful

ILAGAN, Isabela -- The controversial Bt-corn (Bacillus thuringiensis)-
injected corn plants were harvested in Isabela's three trial sites in the 
past two weeks with "very high yields" compared to the pilot trial 
conducted in General Santos City. Dr. Arnold Estrada, product development 
manager of Monsanto-Philippines, the Bt-corn field trial proponent, said 
the yield increase is "even higher than the 50-70 percent yield output in 
General Santos City."

"The trial proved to be successful as we found out that the (Bt-corn) 
plants have turned over a very good (harvest)," Estrada told the INQUIRER 
by telephone. He did not disclose the yield's total volume, saying it would 
be announced in a press conference this week.

The plants were harvested in trial sites in Barangay Alinguigan 2nd in 
Ilagan town, Barangay Carulay in Echague town and Barangay Villaluna in 
Cauayan City. Estrada attributed the good harvest to the rich soil in the 
province. He said the genetically modified organism-laced corn plants were 
found to be highly resistant to the Asiatic corn borer during field trials 
in Isabela. The yield was higher than those from ordinary corn varieties 
like the IPB-911 and the Super Sweet Corn, he said.

The Bt-corn field trials' objectives are to test the variety's resistance 
to the Asiatic corn borer, evaluate its economic value and its grain 
quality. Ten areas in various provinces have been approved as trial sites 
out of the 32 sites applied for by Monsanto. Five sites are located in 
Luzon and five are in Mindanao.

Leaders of the Catholic Church and militant groups opposing the Bt-corn 
field trials, however, remained unfazed by the project's apparent success. 
Fr. Gregorio Uanan, Diocese of Ilagan chancellor and spokesperson of the 
Anti-GMO Multisectoral Alliance in Isabela (Agmais), challenged Monsanto 
officials to present scientific studies on the corn's toxicity, feed and 
nutritional values. The Ilagan council has imposed a moratorium on future 
field tests in the town. But two councilors filed dissenting opinions, 
saying data from the field tests would only be completed if the second 
batch of tests (dry season cropping) was allowed to push through.


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