Gov’t releases P400M to snuff out ‘cocolisap’-A A +A
Saturday, June 14, 2014
BUDGET Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad reported that an initial amount of P400 million has already been made available to the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) to combat the coconut insect infestation now plaguing the country’s coconut industry.
The funding will mainly support the PCA’s Scale Insect Emergency Action Program, following the issuance of Executive Order 169, s. 2014.
The EO has declared parts of Calabarzon and the island of Basilan in a state of emergency.
“It’s extremely important for us to move fast in quelling the infestation in all affected areas. We have already set emergency measures designed to do just this and fend off further infestation in other regions and areas in the country,” Abad said in a statement.
“We want to reassure the public that we have enough funds to protect our booming coconut industry. The focus is really to assist our coconut farmers whose livelihoods are greatly affected by this development, as well as to safeguard the country’s coconut-growing areas,” he added.
The pest has been identified as Aspidiotus rigidus, which is not endemic to the country.
The species primarily attacks plant leaves, eventually killing the plants.
As of June this year, an estimated 1.2 million trees have been seriously affected in the provinces of Batangas, Laguna, Quezon, Cavite, and Basilan.
The Scale Insect Emergency Action Program has been designed to control this infestation, which includes the continuous monitoring and surveillance of affected areas and the implementation of strict quarantine measures and preventive interventions to contain the spread of pest manifestations. (DBM)
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on June 14, 2014.