HomeADDU-SAS Graduate Research Journalvol. 7 no. 1 (2010)

Is Radical Environmentalism Justifiable within the Context of Constitutional Democracy?

Ian Clark R. Parcon

Discipline: Genetic Engineering, Agriculture



On 29 August 2001, a group of about a thousand peasants, farmers and small landowners stormed an experimental Bt corn plantation owned by Monsanto1 in Tampakan, South Cotabato (Alvarez 2001) and uprooted what they believed to be genetically engineered corn plants. This incident happened after years of fruitless protests and legal wrangling to stop Monsanto’s experimentation and reproduction of Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) culminated in the Supreme Court ruling in favor of Monsanto.

Several environmental groups in the country took the action of the peasants as a legitimate response to environmental injustice, while some civil society groups expressed discomfort with this direct and forceful approach to environmental activism. So while there was a strong sympathy for the plight and struggle of those who undertook the violent action against Monsanto, there were also some quarters that saw the move to challenge the conventional understanding of civil society in the Philippines as a paragon of democracy, dialogue, and deliberative procedures.