Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Greenpeace exploiting Filipinos’ misery

IS the powerful European pressure group Greenpeace taking advantage of the misery of Filipinos living in the Visayas areas badly hit by recent typhoons?

This was the question raised recently following a publicity drive by Greenpeace’s public relations operators announcing the visit to the country by its international executive director, Kumi Naidoo.

Naidoo, according to media reports, visited the province of Eastern Samar devastated last year by Typhoon Yolanda. The reports also said Naidoo wants to show the world the devastating effects of Climate Change.

Naidoo’s visit should not have been met with furor and skepticism except that the Greenpeace boss is arriving at a bad time. The country has just suffered a second major devastation in the aftermath of Typhoon Ruby, and millions of Filipinos have yet to get back on their feet.

Amid this suffering, here comes the Greenpeace boss apparently using the misery of Filipinos to advance its agenda and perhaps please its major global patrons.

Filipinos have no quarrel with Greenpeace, or anyone for that matter, on the issue of climate change. Our quarrel is with the fact that Greenpeace is benefiting from this visit and we are not. Naidoo is obviously here to underscore his organization’s “commitment to fight climate change” using the images of the miserable plight of Filipinos in the typhoon-ravaged areas as “proof” of that “commitment.”

Naidoo is here on a trip funded by his donors. Filipinos understand that he will recover the cost of that trip by making his donors’ hearts bleed for his cause and dip deeper into their pockets for more and bigger contributions to Greenpeace.

So, this visit is a win for Greenpeace but not necessarily a win for Filipinos. Naidoo brings nothing to the country except some hysterical pitch against Greenpeace’s favorite corporate targets. In other words, Greenpeace’s global boss will simply use the country as his stage to lambast his organization’s mandated targets.

Filipinos simply hate it when they feel they are being used. They hate it more when they feel they are being used by some powerful forces at a time when they are down and out.

Naidoo should also realize that he is coming to the country at a time that his powerful organization is waging a cruel, protracted war against the aspirations of Filipinos. It will be recalled that Greenpeace has launched a vicious assault on the food security policy of the country which tapped agriculture biotechnology as a solution to hunger, environmental and farm productivity issues.

The latest development on this issue as we have discussed in our previous columns is that Greenpeace’s Philippine operatives used our Court of Appeals (CA) to stop our scientists from completing field trials for the pesticide-free biotech eggplant variety called “Bt Talong.”

Naidoo’s Greenpeace now wants a permanent stop to the use of agriculture biotechnology in the development of crop varieties that can resist pests without having to be sprayed with massive doses of chemical pesticides. His local lieutenants are pushing for this ban before the Supreme Court.

Naidoo’s problem is that the agriculture biotechnology has the support of the local science community and the patronage of our farmers. His organization failed to stop Filipinos from adopting the pesticide-free biotech corn variety. Interestingly, the country is now eyeing an entry into the corn feed export market because of the success of this variety.

Naidoo’s group wants to kill that prospect, too, by stopping the country from tapping biotechnology. In so doing, it is now up against not just our scientists and farmers, but every Filipino who hopes to benefit from our country’s economic advancement through better agricultural productivity.

So, Naidoo is not coming over as a friend who wants to extend his solidarity with us. He is not here on a Filipino agenda. His visit is in support of Greenpeace’s agenda.

Naidoo will surely pontificate on the issue of Climate Change.

Maybe, he should also explain to us why he and his organization want to keep our farmers dependent on the use of chemical pesticides by stopping them from adopting biotech crops. The way we, Filipinos, understand it, chemicals contribute to Climate Change.

If Naidoo wants a global platform for his tirades against Greenpeace’s corporate targets, we suggest he does it elsewhere.

He and Greenpeace should leave us alone while we rebuild our typhoon-ravaged lives.


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