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DA contests CA ruling on golden rice, Bt eggplant

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture (DA) has sought the reconsideration of the Court of Appeals (CA)’s decision against the commercial propagation of Bt eggplant and golden rice, an official said.

Agriculture Undersecretary Asis Perez said the DA has filed a motion for reconsideration before the appellate court against its ruling to stop the planting of the two genetically modified crops.

Furthermore, Perez said the DA intends to bring the petition up to the Supreme Court if its motion would be denied by the CA.

At the same time, Perez said the DA is heeding one of the rulings made by the CA that urged the government to improve its regulatory system concerning genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

“The court finds that the regulation is not sufficient to ensure the safety of the public. What we are doing now is to amend the regulation – just to make sure the regulation is robust enough,” Perez told the congressional oversight committee on agricultural and fisheries modernization yesterday.

During the committee’s hearing, Sen. Imee Marcos sought the DA’s comment and position regarding the CA ruling last month against Bt eggplant and golden rice.

Marcos said the CA decision is a setback that would greatly affect the country’s agriculture sector, particularly its goal of improving food production.

Earlier this month, The STAR reported that the DA has stopped the importation of Bt eggplant and golden rice in compliance with the CA decision.

However, the DA clarified that importation of other regulated GMOs must continue since they are not covered by the appellate court ruling.

Meanwhile, to recognize the significant contribution of the country’s agriculturists to food security, President Marcos has declared July of every year as Philippine Agriculturists’ Month.

In issuing Proclamation 544, Marcos also underscored the important role of the agriculture sector in ensuring food security, as well as fostering environmental protection and balanced urban and rural development.

“Recognizing the contributions of agriculturists and highlighting their importance through a dedicated month will honor their hard work and dedication, and raise awareness about the