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Masipag News & Views | August 29, 2001

Mindanao, Phillipines -- About 800 farmers, church people, students and other members of the civil society group bravely stormed Monsanto's experimental field in southern Philippines uprooting all Bt-Corn plants this morning (Aug 29).

The "operation bunot (uproot)" took only five to 10 minutes leaving two police officers helpless. No untoward incident happened.

"Faster! Faster!" were the shouts as the protesters hurriedly uproot the genetically engineered corn in the 1,700-square-meter experimental field of Monsanto's Agroseed in Maltana village, Tamapakan town of South Cotabato province, Mindanao.

Around 100 indigenous Lumads also took part in the protest action, the first of its kind in the country's history of GMO protest.

Agroseed is currently conducting a multilocation open-field testing of Bt-Corn in around 30 sites in Luzon and Mindanao amid cries of protest from various sectors in the country.

In 1999, Monsanto ignored muntisectoral opposition, including a series of City Council resolutions, in General Santos City in Mindanao and pushed through with the first open-field experiments of genetically engineered crop in the country.

Bt-Corn contains gene from soil bacterium bacillus thuringiensis, a toxin that makes this transgenic crop produce its own insecticide to beat off corn borer.