- Last December 2015, the Supreme Court ruled to stop testing of talong since there was a possibility it would harm the environment and the health of the people
- On Tuesday, July 26, the Supreme Court reversed their decision stating that the relief the court sought no longer applied
- The petitioners include the University of the Philippines, Crop Life Philippines, and many others
In a unanimous decision on July 26, the Philippine Supreme Court (SC) reversed its decision from last December 2015 in which the field testing propagation, commercialization, and importation of genetically modified organism (GMOs) were momentarily banned.
Several advocates of Bacillus thuringiensis (BT) talong (eggplant), which include the Environmental Management Bureau, Crop Life Philippines, Inc., University of the Philippines, and many other, filed nine motions asking the SC to reconsider their December 2015 ruling.
‘These cases, which stemmed from respondents' petition for Writ of Kalikasan, were mooted by the expiration of the Biosafety Permits issued by the Bureau of Plant Industry and the termination of Bt talong field trials subject of the permits,’ said SC spokesperson Theodore Te.
Last December, the Supreme Court ruled that all field testing for BT talong be banned and temporarily blocked any application for field testing, contained use, propagation and importation of GMOs.
Furthermore, the court nullified Administrative Order 08-2002, which founded the National Biosafety Framework. According to the SC, the order did not meet the safety requirements laid out in Executive Order 514.
The applicants of the case argued that the December ruling had no merits due to mootness, since the subject was only “collaterally raised.” Therefore, the court should not have based their decision on whether the Department of Agriculture Administrative Order 08-2002 was unconstitutional.
The decision of the SC last December acknowledged another ruling by the Court of Appeals’ (CA) in May 2013, which based the blocking of all field testing of the BT talong based on the precautionary principle that it is unknown whether the testing could have adverse affects on the environment and the local population.
At that time, the CA ruled that the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Science did not meet the minimum requirements to ensure the safety of the environment and the health of the local population.
But the Supreme Court set aside this verdict, noting that the relief sought by the CA no longer have the capacity to be executed.