One of the International Rice Research Institute's Golden Rice field trials in the Philippines was vandalized on Aug. 8.
A full statement was issued immediately: Malnutrition fight goes on, Golden Rice research continues. Later in the day, Dr. Bruce Tolentino, IRRI’s deputy director general for communications and partnership, followed up with a video message: Golden Rice research continues.
The OIC Regional Executive Director Eng. Abelardo R. Bragas of the Department of Agriculture Regional Field Unit 5 where the trial is located also gave a statement to media during a local press conference strongly condemning the vandalism.
Nearly all the Golden Rice plants at the site were uprooted and left on site. The trial cannot be continued and we are now conducting clean-up activities and reporting.
IRRI reports that everyone is safe and that no one was injured during the day’s events, including everyone on the research team, other staff on the site, the local police and village peace-keeping force, and the protesters. IRRI is disappointed and saddened by the action as many people in the Department of Agriculture, the Philippine Rice Research Institute, and our other partners locally, nationally, and internationally have been working hard on the field trials to help us continue our research to improve nutrition.
The entire team at IRRI wants to extend our gratefulness and heartfelt thanks to everyone who helped in Camarines Sur to brief officials, partners, and media, and to support the security of the site.
We highly value the continuing support of the local government of Pili led by Mayor Alexis San Luis and the local government of Tigaon led by Mayor Arnie Fuentebella. Plus the support extended to us by the officials and staff of the Department of Agriculture and Barangay San Agustin.
The decisive actions of the local Institutional Biosafety Committee of the Golden Rice field trial Bicol led by Dr. Evangeline de la Trinidad was also very critical in properly managing the aftermath of this unfortunate incident.