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  • Sen. Chiz Escudero resigns as chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance. 11 hours ago |

Greenpeace bullying

By Alvin Capino | Aug. 02, 2013 at 12:01am
So, Greenpeace’s spokesperson has emerged from hibernation and has re-emerged to bash the President of the Republic of the Philippines.

We refer to Beau Baconguis, the media-savvy local mouthpiece of the Europe-based pressure group Greenpeace.

Baconguis gained popularity (or notoriety—it depends on your point of view) some 10 years ago when the Greenpeace spokesperson went on a high-profile and very expensive public relations foray to scare Filipino corn farmers, making them believe that a corn variety that does not need pesticides causes cancer, and other imagined infirmities like changing the sexual preferences of people.

Baconguis is back in the limelight, whacking the President of this country for wanting to put up more baseload power plants to address the need for more reliable electricity supply all over the country.

Baconguis says the pressure group she represents “is dismayed”, pointing out that baseload plants will favor coal suppliers and not the suppliers of Europe-manufactured solar and wind power generators.

The President need not worry over Baconguis’ expression of “dismay”. He should simply go on and solve this country’s problems. Greenpeace is not a stakeholder in this country.

Over a decade ago, media discovered that Baconguis is a Filipino, or at least is a Philippine passport holder. It is highly probable that Greenpeace’s official local mouthpiece is paid in euro. This must be why Baconguis thinks like a European and wants Filipinos to live her lifestyle.

She misunderstands her country. We, ordinary Filipinos, cannot afford her euro-sustained lifestyle.

We are a developing country. In layman’s terms, that translates into “poor”. This is why the truly Filipino patriotic groups like the Foundation for Economic Freedom have been wary of the renewable energy craze sweeping Europe. Yes, we believe that renewable energy is good for the environment. We just can’t afford it now. Meanwhile, the President of this country who has unfortunately disappointed Baconguis has to solve the energy crisis and will have to build baseload power plants —the kind we can quickly build and afford.

We suspect Baconguis, who now sports the euro-paid title of Greenpeace program manager, remains the mastermind behind the renewed war of this pressure group against Filipino scientists and farmers.

Baconguis must have seriously disappointed her European bosses with her failure to stop the local commercialization of the pesticide-independent Bt corn variety that she has now trained her gun sight on another target: an eggplant variety which, like Bt corn, does not need the help of European pesticides to battle insects.

This time, Baconguis should be able to redeem herself before her European bosses. Recall that the Court of Appeals stopped Filipino scientists of the University of the Philippines-Los Baños from field-testing the Bt talong variety.

Clever move by Baconguis—this time, she can prove to her European bosses that Greenpeace’s scare tactics, which miserably failed on farmers 10 years ago, appears to be working on the Philippine judicial sector.

Our scientists, led by former UPLB chancellor and UP President Emil Javier, lamented the setback we suffered in the hands of Greenpeace. He said the judicial victory scored by Baconguis is a “curtailment of the academic freedom of the University of the Philippines”.

We can only commiserate with Javier and the UPLB community. They may have underestimated the power of the interest which Baconguis represents in this country.

That power is awesome. We recall that 10 years ago, a United States-based scientist, Channapatna S. Prakash, said Baconguis’ group spends about $170 million in its public relations tactics to stop biotechnology.

That $170 million budget was of 10 years ago. Javier should understand that times have changed and that budget must have grown by leaps and bounds. His motley group of Filipino agriculture savants do not have that amount. Javier should decipher for himself how far a fraction of that amount can go to stop his group and to curtail UP’s academic freedom.

What Javier’s community wants to do is to give our Filipino farmers a choice. It wants to add to the list of our farmers’ options a seed variety that will spare them from the added costs and risks that come with the use of chemical fertilizers.

It used to baffle us why Baconguis would want to deprive Filipino farmers that option. We used to wonder whether or not she realizes the value that both Filipino scientists and farmers put on their ability to make their own choices.

We no longer wonder.

With a budget of $170 million, her group can do whatever it wishes.

The Foundation for Economic Freedom and other patriotic economists should now watch what Baconguis’ next move will be in the energy front. She just served notice that her European bosses were not pleased with the President’s plans on how this country’s power woes are to be solved.

Never underestimate the power of Greenpeace’s financial largesse. Keep in mind—that’s in euro, not in pesos.
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