A THAI Supreme Court ruling that was issued against Greenpeace in mid-October shows just how overrated the European pressure group is. In junking Greenpeace’s suit to stop field trials on genetically modified papaya, that nation’s highest court strongly underscored the misguided thrust of the Amsterdam-based environmental organization, which has also been raising similar noises over the Philippines’s food-security preparations through its efforts to adopt biotechnology, which has been proven to raises farmers’ income.
The legal disaster that Greenpeace suffered in Thailand is deemed important in light of the court actions that the pressure group has initiated in our country, in its desire to impress on our farming and scientific communities its misguided, but oft-repeated, warning to not embrace genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Greenpeace had banked on the element of fear in putting a stop to the adoption of biotechnology, despite the fact that the United States has already embraced it wholeheartedly.
Overrated—that is what Greenpeace is, and it is time for the country to see through its machinations to stop the country’s adoption of GMOs. Thailand‘s Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry has, in fact, announced that it was looking to conduct a feasibility study on improving four crops—maize, cassava, palm and sugarcane—and would consider biotechnology to boost production.
Similarly, the Philippine scientific community, led by scientists from the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), has been leading the effort to introduce the benefits of biotechnology to the farming sector, which Greenpeace has consistently blocked. Our scientists are promoting biotechnology not only because crops developed through this process are safe, but also because it reduces the use of chemical pesticides in our farms.
Why Greenpeace is blocking a technology that makes chemical pesticides unnecessary is still a mystery. But, somehow, it has succeeded in its so-called shock-and-awe campaign. Recently, Greenpeace managed to make the Court of Appeals (CA) issue an order stopping the field trials being conducted by our scientists on a biotechnology-developed eggplant variety called Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) talong. The order—a major setback for our scientists—created the impression that Greenpeace is so powerful that it can get our courts to act according to its whims.
But the Thai High Court ruling, as well as recent developments, appears to debunk the myth of a very powerful Greenpeace. One such development is the decision of our Supreme Court (SC) to allow Filipino farmers who want to plant Bt talong to intervene in the appeal filed by UPLB scientists, who are now asking the SC to lift the CA order.
This decision signaled to everyone that the High Court is not intimidated by the supposed political and financial muscle of Greenpeace. The SC decision also represented a breakthrough in the legal battle between Greenpeace and our scientific community, since this appears to be the first time that our farmers’ voice will be heard by our courts on this issue.
The legal setbacks suffered by Greenpeace should now remove our countrymen’s fear that the pressure group can simply dictate what it wants in our country.
The move of our and Thailand’s highest court should tell the world that Asians are ready to stand up to a well-funded European organization. Greenpeace can flex its political and financial power all it wants, but it looks like the Asian courts will not blink.
Greenpeace began its antibiotechnology drive in the Philippines by launching a vicious black-propaganda campaign. Its local mouthpieces warned our farmers that adopting biotech crops would result in the spread of cancer, deaths and deformities among children, and even homosexuality. That campaign, however, appeared to be a massive failure, since our farmers have already adopted biotech corn, which was the first target of Greenpeace here.
The pressure group also has to contend with the respected and credible voices of our officials, who assured our farmers and consumers that biotech crops are safe. Filipinos listened more to the likes of Dr. Emil Javier, former chancellor of the UP System and UPLB, and renowned toxicologist and former Food and Drug Administration chief Dr. Kenneth Hartigan-Go.
Javier and Hartigan-Go stood by the position of the global scientific community that biotech crops approved for commercialization have undergone intense screening and are safe. Their sober explanation overshadowed the hysterical, panic-creating propaganda of the local Greenpeace mouthpieces.
Aside from this, our corn farmers who embraced biotechnology have already reaped higher incomes without seeing or experiencing the supposed side-effects of GMO crops. So, the overrated Greenpeace is not invincible at all. It can be defeated. Truth can prevail over the most hysterical lies.