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Genetically modified rice: pros and cons


LIFE’S INSPIRATIONS: “…only God… makes things grow…” (1 Corinthians 3:7, the Holy Bible).

BREAKTHROUGH IN GENETICALLY MODIFIED RICE: MUST WE CELEBRATE? I really don’t know if we can now congratulate the Philippines in general and the Department of Agriculture in particular for their reported continuing breakthrough in the cultivation and production of hybrid rice in the country which, even now, is being praised to high heavens as being beneficial to our farmers because hybrid rice supposedly empowers them to harvest more.

My concern is that, hybrid rice is genetically modified rice. As the website of the International Rice Research Institute proclaims, hybrid rice “is a type of rice that has been bred from two very different parents”, which, in layman’s language, should mean that this is not the usual, or natural, rice that our country had been producing.

This is problematic, as far as I am concerned, because, up to now, there is as yet no conclusive data that would prove whether genetically modified rice, or all of the other genetically modified crops and food for that matter, are safe for human consumption. Of course, there is likewise no proof yet that genetically modified rice or crops or food pose any danger to humans, but then, the telltale signs of their pernicious effects in our country are just too overwhelming to be ignored.

PROS AND CONS OF GENETICALLY MODIFIED RICE: Be that as it may, it is indeed true that the Internet literature on genetically modified food or crops is still divided even up to this point. One group upholds the safety of these types of food and crops. The other denies its safety, and is rabidly claiming that genetically modified food or crops are dangerous not only to humans, but to the environment as well.

Here is how Wikipedia reports on the matter: “The genetically modified foods controversy is a dispute over the relative advantages and disadvantages of food derived from genetically modified organisms, genetically modified crops used to produce food and other goods, and other uses of genetically modified organisms in food production.

“The dispute involves consumers, biotechnology companies, governmental regulators, non-governmental organizations and scientists. The key areas of controversy related to genetically modified (GM) food are: risk of harm from GM food… the effect of GM crops on the environment, the effect on pesticide resistance, the impact of GM crops for farmers, including farmers in developing countries…

ISSUES ABOUT GENETICALLY MODIFIED FOODS: Wikipedia continues: “There is broad scientific consensus that food on the market derived from GM crops pose no greater risk than conventional food. No reports of ill effects have been documented in the human population from GM food.
Supporters of food derived from GMOs hold that food is as safe as other foods and that labels send a message to consumers that GM food is somehow dangerous.

“Advocacy groups such as Greenpeace, The Non-GMO Project and Organic Consumers Association say that risks of GM food have not been adequately identified and managed and have also questioned the objectivity of regulatory authorities.

“Opponents say that food derived from GMOs may be unsafe and propose it be banned, or at least labeled. They have expressed concerns about the objectivity of regulators and rigor of the regulatory process, about contamination of the non-GM food supply, about effects of GMOs on the environment and nature, and about the consolidation of control of the food supply in companies that make and sell GMOs…”

REACTIONS? Please call me at 0917 984 24 68, 0918 574 0193, 0922 833 43 96. Email:,

By Atty. Batas Mauricio

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