In light of the upcoming May elections,
both academic scientists and peasant leaders urged politicians
running for office to offer concrete plans in alleviating the
country’s food crisis through the development of S&T
within the framework of achieving greater agricultural productivity,
food security and self-sufficiency.
“Though the electoral process has never proved to be much
effective in uplifting the plight of farmers, as majority of the
voting public, farmers have the right to know the candidates’
stand on S&T issues that affect them,” said Danilo Ramos,
Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas secretary-general.
In particular, RESIST has actively lobbied and mobilized for
the stopping of the commercialization of GMOs (genetically-modified
organisms) in the country, saying that it worsens the poverty
in the countryside and primarily serve the interest of profit-oriented
transnationals that own and control them.
RESIST maintains that the agricultural production system continues
to be geared towards export and not for domestic consumption.
Therefore, advances in agricultural knowledge are oriented for
the improvement of agricultural exports and only benefit the large
landlords and agri-businesses.
In the colloquim, scientists were given a chance to explain to
farmers the different existing agricultural technologies: organic
production systems, genetic engineering, chemical-based production,
irrigation facilities, and other agro-ecological approaches.
“As advocates of S&T for the people, we believe in
the capacity of the scientific community to contribute greatly
in the development of agriculture that will greatly benefit the
people,” said Dr. Romeo Quijano, president of Pesticide
Action Network Philippines and Health and Environmental Alliance
On the other hand, peasants were given a chance to express how
these technologies positively or negatively affect their lives.
“Scientists should not be confined to mastering the technical
aspects of their technologies, but should be able to see and place
them in their particular social contexts, in order to understand
why some of their technologies are met with resistance from peasants,”
A comprehensive discussion on the status of Philippine agriculture
was given in the colloquim, as well as a presentation of current
agricultural programs by representatives from the government,
academe and private sector.
Bayan Muna Representative Satur Ocampo also graced the event
by offering a critique of these programs and proposing a People’s
Agricultural Development Policy marked by genuine agrarian reform
and national industrialization.
The following day, participants went to a nearby peasant community
in order to expose themselves to the concrete problems farmers
The Science for the People Colloquim is a follow-up event to
the Peasant-Scientist Conference held by RESIST last 2002, and
will be part of the alliance’s yearly activities.
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