June 5, 2003 - South East Asia Regional Initiatives for Community Empowerment: RPCV Andrew Haralam ends hunger strike in the Philippines

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Headlines: Peace Corps Headlines - 2003: June 2003 Peace Corps Headlines: June 5, 2003 - South East Asia Regional Initiatives for Community Empowerment: RPCV Andrew Haralam ends hunger strike in the Philippines

By Admin1 (admin) on Friday, June 13, 2003 - 9:54 am: Edit Post

RPCV Andrew Haralam ends hunger strike in the Philippines

Read and comment on this Press Release from the South East Asia Regional Initiatives for Community Empowerment that protesters including Returned Volunteer Andrew Haralam ended their hunger strike in opposition to genetically modified crops in the Philippines. Haralam was a Peace Corps Volunteer serving in the Philippines and resigned as a volunteer after beginning the hunger strike. Read the story at:

Statement of Hunger Strikers against GMO in Phillipines*

* This link was active on the date it was posted. PCOL is not responsible for broken links which may have changed.

Statement of Hunger Strikers against GMO in Phillipines

Source: South East Asia Regional Initiativesfor Community Empowerment (SEARICE)
Posted: June 5, 2003

On May 20, we began the 24-Hour Indignation Fast Against the Macapagal-Arroyo

Government and Monsanto, joined by supporters from many parts of the country and of the world. Together, we are ending today that one-fast as well as the 30 days of hunger strike against Bt corn, sealing our common commitment to continue the fight against Bt corn and other genetically-engineered foods until victory is at hand.

Our 30-day hunger strike inspired opposition to GMO crops everywhere and drew widespread support. We have thrust the Bt corn issue into the national limelight as an important health, environmental, economic and political concern. We have raised public awareness about the urgency of the issue. We have directed public focus on the culpability and liability of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Secretary Luis Lorenzo Jr. and Monsanto in contaminating our local corn.

We have shown the hunger strike an effective form of calling government, media and public attention. Our non-violent action inspired opposition to GMO crops everywhere and drew widespread support from many sectors, in many parts of the country and of the world.

We have created many new opportunities, fronts, platforms and linkages for the campaign against GM food. These were achieved not by the hunger strikers alone, but by the entire movement that the hunger strike generated.

The media deserve special mention. Initially drawn by the novelty of our action, their regular coverage and exposure to our arguments eventually led them to appreciate the issues themselves. Now, the Bt corn issue is a legitimate media concern, hunger strike or not.

We end our hunger strike in order to continue to fight in the new spaces and platforms that our hunger strike created. We have achieved much of our objectives. We did not get a moratorium due not to our failure but to the failure of government: it has violated its own laws and processes, reneged on its commitment to protect the people from harms and dangers, and taken the side of a foreign giant that wants to control our food supply.

We did everything humanly possible to stop the Bt seeds at the source. But the government failed us. We must now exert similar efforts to make sure the Bt corn contamination does not spread quickly. We must also stop the entry of other GMO crops such as rice and cotton.

We must now expand and deepen the reach of the movement that emerged out of our hunger strike. We must continue to ask the government of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to account for its criminal negligence in allowing the Bt corn seeds to be distributed nationwide, despite valid health, environmental and other safety concerns and questions raised about their economic impact on farmers. We must continue to ask the government to stop all field releases of all GMO crops. We must draw Congress into the debate. We must ask that the rights of farmers and consumers be protected, particularly the right to be informed and to choose what kind of seeds to use and what kind of food to eat.

We are ready to fight on.

Hunger strikers: Luisita Esmao, Roberto Verzola, Arma Bertuso, Mark Cervantes, Anne Larracas, Gigie Cruz, Antonio Claparols, Rei Panaligan, Fr. Robert Reyes, Andrew Haralam, Manny Onalan, Roy Cabonegro, and Elmer Tadeo

We urge all our friends and supporters from all over the world to send statements of support to the Indefinite Hunger Strike, to the Office of the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, Secretary Luis Lorenzo, by fax +63 2 9298183 or email seclorenzo@da.gov.ph and please copy to SEARICE's fax number (63 2 9226710) or email searice@searice.org.ph

Thank you very much for your support.

Ms. Elenita C. Dao Executive Director South East Asia Regional Initiatives for Community Empowerment (SEARICE) Units 208/331 Eagle Court Condominium 26 Matalino Street, Diliman, Quezon City Tel. Nos.: (632) 922-6710, 433-7182 Email: searice@searice.org.ph

Previous Story published May 19 about RPCV Andrew Haralam and his hunger strike in the Philippines

Read and comment on this story from the Sun Star about RPCV Andrew Haralam's hunger strike in the Philippines to protest the introduction of genetically modified crops at:

American continues hunger strike vs Bt corn*

* This link was active on the date it was posted. PCOL is not responsible for broken links which may have changed.

American continues hunger strike vs Bt corn

By Harley F. Palangchao

FORMER American Peace Corps volunteer Andrew Haralam, who is on a hunger strike for six days now against Bt corn, vowed to indefinitely continue his protest until Malacañang orders a moratorium on the distribution of the GMO-type product.

"I have decided to continue with the hunger strike until President Arroyo orders the Department of Agriculture to stop the distribution of Bt corn," vowed Haralam, who remains strong despite drinking water and mango juice since he started the hunger strike at the Malcolm Square.

Haralam added he was informed that Agriculture Secretary Luis Lorenzo is to meet with Arroyo in Malacañang Wednesday to discuss what actions the government would implement amid the snowballing protest against the Bt corn.

The DA approved the Bt corn, which was introduced and patented by the US multinational Monsato, for commercial release in December last year.

Although it was approved for commercial release, Haralam revealed that environmentalists in the country and abroad lobbied for the non-distribution of the GMO-type product.

Green Peace, an environmental activists group in Baguio, meanwhile launched a signature campaign against the Bt corn as one way to support Haralam's cause. The activists hope to garner thousands of signatures.

Over the weekend, Haralam warned that the GMO-type product causes stomach and colon cancers, birth defects, and neurodevelopment disorders, claiming that these side effects are irreversible.

"Please do not contaminate this beautiful land with poison, either with the chemical or the genetically engineered variety," Haralam begged Malacañang.

He added, "As an environmental activist, I am protesting the introduction of Bt corn in an effort to protect the ecosystem in general and preserve the indigenous strains of corn in particular."

Haralam expressed optimism that a ban on Bt corn in the country would set a precedent for other Asian countries to oppose it and other GMOs.

The former Peace Corps volunteer, who tills a one-hectare farm in Buguias, Benguet, said Americans and Mexicans are now suffering from the ill-effects of Bt corn since the GMO type product was introduced in these countries.

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