THE Philippine Cacao Industry Council (PCIC), the official voice of the Philippine cacao industry, has registered its strong opposition to the passage of Senate Bill 1741 (House Bill 7640), which designates Davao City as the chocolate and cacao capital of the Philippines and grants it technical, financial, marketing, and other incentives to the exclusion of all other regions in the country.
The PCIC is a government mandated organization composed of the government and private sectors to carry the official voice of the Philippine Cacao Industry.
PCIC National Chairperson Armi Lopez Garcia said the council strongly opposes the bill because it “discriminates and disadvantages” all other regions in the country that are responding to the government’s call to develop their own cacao industry.
“Favoring Davao City alone subverts the national policy to develop the Philippine cacao industry,” she added.
The PCIC instead endorses the promotion of “Philippine Cacao” and “Philippine Chocolate.”
In a recent meeting of the PCIC, convened by the Department of Trade and Industry, last January 27, 2021, all the vice-chairpersons representing the country’s three island groups, namely, Sylvia Ordonez (Luzon), Buen Mondejar (Visayas), and Christopher Lindo (Mindanao), also reaffirmed their strong opposition to the bill.
In Mindanao, only Davao Region, to which Davao City belongs, has not taken an official stand. However, some provinces within the region itself have expressed their opposition to the bill because it only benefits Davao City.
In a position paper submitted to the Senate, the PCIC manifested that the factual basis of the bill is faulty because Davao City is not the single biggest planter of cacao in the country; it only contributes four percent of the country’s total cacao production; Davao is not the biggest producer of chocolate products in the country; the biggest artisan chocolate maker in the country, Auro Chocolate, is based in the Laguna; the biggest producer of tableya (chocolate tablets is Guiling’s Tableya, which is based in Cebu; and the chocolate production Davao City is nowhere near the volume of Cebu. (PR)