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International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications, Inc.

(ISAAA) vs Greenpeace
Southeast Asia (Philippines)
Dec 8 Villarama
G.R. No 209271, 209276, 209301, 209430
2015
Article II Sec 16 Villamor
Petitioners Respondents
International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications, Inc., et. al Greenpeace Southeast Asia
Recit Ready Summary
UPLB, UP Mindao Foundation and ISAAA collaborated to produce eggplants which are resistant to the fruit and
the shoot borer. It conducted field testing of the genetically modified eggplants called Bt talong. Greenpeace then
filed a writ of kalikasan claiming that the project may have adverse effects and that there are not enough studies
which provide for the safety of biotech products. The relevant issue to the discussion Is the applicability of the
precautionary principle. The Court ruled that the principle applies in this case because there are still a lot of
uncertainty surrounding biotech products.
Facts of the Case
 President Aquino issued EO 430 which created the National Committee on Biosafety of the Philippines
which was tasked to identify the potential hazards in genetic engineering, recommend measure to
mitigate risks and formulae and review policies on biosafety
 The NBCP then issued the Philippine Biosafety Guidelines which regulate the importation, movement and
field release and containment of potentially hazardous bio materials
 In 1993, the Convention on Biological Diversity was created. It is a multilateral treaty which recognized
that modern biotech, if developed wisely, has great potential for human well-being
 In 2000, the Cartagena Protocol was agreed upon which aims to contribute to ensuring an adequate level
of the safe transfer, handling and use of living modified organisms from biotech. This was ratified by the
Senate in 2006.
 The Department of Agriculture issued DA-AO No 8 which provides for the rules and regulations for the
importation and release into the environment of biotech plants and plant products
 In 2010, UPLB, ISAAA and UP Mindanao Foundation collaborated on a research and development
project on eggplants which are resilient to the fruit and shoot borer (Bt talong)
 The experiments commenced in 2007 and ended in 2009 and the field experiments started in 2010 upon
issuance of Biosafety Permits
 Greenpeace filed for a writ of kalikasan and continuing mandamus for the issuance of a Temporary
Environmental Protection Order against petitioner. They claim that the Bt Talong field trials violate their
right to health and balanced ecology due to the following:
o The ECC was not secured before the implementation of the project
o Bt Talong is presumed harmful to human health and the environment and that there is no study
on the safety of Bt talong for human consumption and the environment
o A study by Professor Gilles-Eric Seralini showed adverse effects of Bt corn when fed to rats
o Bt crops can be toxic to non-target species and may increase the mortality of insects which
would lead to a increased use of pesticides
o The 200m pollen trap is the field is not sufficient to stop contamination
o The trial testing was not in compliance with the requirement of public consultation
 The Court issued a writ of kalikasan and gave the petitioners 10 days to filed their comment
 The CA ruled in favor of Greenpeace and directed petitioners to permanently stop from further conducting
field trials and to protect, preserve and rehabilitate the environment. It also ruled that the existing
administrative regulations by the DA and DOST are not sufficient to ensure the safety of the environment
and the people. It also applied the precautionary principle because the overall safety guarantee of the
field trials remain unknown
Issues Ruling
1. W/N respondents have legal standing Yes
2. W/N the precautionary principle is applicable Yes
Rationale/Analysis/Legal Basis
1. Citizens of the Philippines have legal standing to enforce their environmental rights. Furthermore, with regard
to environmental case, the rules on standing is liberalized.
2. The precautionary principle states the goverments are obligated to foresee and forestall harm to the
environment. It bridges the cap In cases where scientific certainty in factual findings cannot be achieved. Its
goal is to preserve and protect the environment. In applying the principle, 3 factors may be considered: (1)
threats to human life; (2) inequity to the present or future generation; (3) prejudice to the environment without
legal consideration of the environmental rights of those affected.
For purposes of evidence, the precautionary principle should be treated as a principle of last resort, where
application of the regular Rules of Evidence would cause in an inequitable result for the environmental plaintiff —
(a) settings in which the risks of harm are uncertain; (b) settings in which harm might be irreversible and what is
lost is irreplaceable; and (c) settings in which the harm that might result would be serious. When these features —
uncertainty, the possibility of irreversible harm, and the possibility of serious harm — coincide, the case for the
precautionary principle is strongest. When in doubt, cases must be resolved in favor of the constitutional right to a
balanced and healthful ecology.

The Court found that the three conditions to be present. Scientific studies revealed uncertainties with regard to
biotech crops. Since the Philippines is rich in biodiversity, the natural and unforeseen consequences of
contamination and genetic pollution would produces irreversible effects.

Notes
MR: Moot because the Biosafety permits have already expired and that the trials were already done.