Party-list lawmakers launched yesterday the Organic Food Festival at the House of Representatives to showcase sustainable agriculture produce and techniques that will help the country attain food self-sufficiency, bio-safety and sustainable agriculture, a government press release said.
"This event will also help in advocating among our fellow legislators in the House the need to seriously look into our government’s efforts at attaining food security while keeping tabs on bio-safety that involves public health and environmental risks," Bayan Muna Party-list Rep. Teddy Casiño said.
Casiño is author of House Resolution No. 237 that directs the House committee on agriculture and food to investigate the current Bt-talong (eggplant) field trials in the Philippines in line with the Organic Agriculture Law.
"Congress, through its committee on agriculture and food, has to look into a serious case of testing and releasing (of) genetically-modified organism crops into the Philippine environment… Casiño said.
"It is quite hazardous for the Department of Agriculture (DA) to sanction Bt-talong field trials in seven different sites across the country in the drive to commercialize it this year," he added.
Casino said the DA allegedly ignored the fact that India has put a moratorium on the commercialization of Bt brinjal (Indian local name for eggplant), due to numerous reports on the possible hazardous effects it may bring on the health, environment and livelihood of the Indian people.
"India is the source of the Bt-talong technology. We have a pending resolution to probe this issue before any Bt- talong is illegally put up for commercial and domestic use," he said.
Casino The Bayan Muna party-list solon said he supports the local governments of Sta. Barbara, Iloilo and Davao City that have expressed their apprehension on the ongoing field test trials in their area and has effected for the suspension of planting of Bt-talong.
"It is high time that Congress look into this issue to come up with better government policies on bio-safety that will help us attain long-term safe and sustainable food for the people," he said.
The Organic Food Festival is also co-sponsored by various non-government organizations like the Resistance and Solidarity against Agrochem TNCs, Masipag, Sibat, TFIP, PNFSP, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas and SEARICE, the press release said.*