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Crop Biotech Update

Bt Eggplant Vandals in the Philippines to be Prosecuted with Malicious Mischief

June 10, 2011

Members of the anti-biotech group Greenpeace who trespassed and destroyed the experimental site of the fruit and shoot borer resistant (FSBR) Bt eggplant in the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) last February 17, 2011 are to be prosecuted for malicious mischief by the Provincial Prosecution Office of Laguna Province.

The resolution, signed by Provincial Prosecutor George C. Dee and passed last May 13, 2011, stated as an undisputed fact that the Greenpeace members forcibly entered the experimental farm of the University with the common purpose to pull up the existing experimental plants which caused damage to the experimental plant breeds worth 25 million pesos.

In an official statement, UPLB Chancellor Luis Rey Velasco said that the university will pursue the case "to ensure that the violators will be held liable for their actions. We have to protect the interest of the University and defend our academic freedom."

Dr. Lourdes D. Taylo, research study leader of the Bt eggplant project in UPLB, said that the decision was welcome news for those directly involved in the development of Bt eggplant. She reiterated that the project is fully compliant with all the conditions stipulated in the biosafety permit for the conduct of field trial of GM eggplant issued by the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI).

Farmers, meanwhile, were delighted with the decision. Corn farmer Isidro Acosta from Naguilian, Isabela said that such decisions give justice to farmers because Bt eggplant would be an additional choice for them. Farmers, he said, should be given the right to choose the technologies they would like to apply to their farms. Bt eggplant is one promising biotechnology product that farmers are anticipating to be made available to them.

For a related article visit http://www.bic.searca.org or e-mail bic@agri.searca.org.