Written by Riel John R. Urriquia
Published: 11 June 2014
DILG, PCA, AND LGUs JOIN FORCES VS COCOLISAP
Showing solidarity in the crusade against the threat of cocolisap or coconut scale insects (CSI) which has been plaguing and destroying vast tracts of coconut plantations in the country particularly in CALABARZON, the DILG, the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) and the LGUs in Region IV-A recently joined forces to put an end to the cocolisap infestation.
This is thru a consultation meeting which was held last June 10, 2014 at the Bulwagang Kalilayan in the city of Lucena. Themed “Konsultasyon Kontra Cocolisap”, the monumental activity was led by DILG Secretary Mar Roxas, Sec. Francis Pangilinan, Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization (PAFSAM); and Quezon Governor David Suarez.
DIn his welcome remarks, Gov. Suarez stated that under his leadership, Quezon province was the first to declare a state of calamity even before President Aquino declared CALABARZON under a state of calamity due to the CSI Infestation. The Governor also remarked that the infestation has become a rallying point for rival politicians in the province to unite for the welfare of the coconut farmers who are currently affected. Coconut products and its by-products are the major industries in Quezon hence, Gov. Suarez expressed his gratitude to the national government initiatives to combat CSI Infestation.
Sec. Pangilinan on the other hand, reiterated that pruning of coconut trees should first be conducted prior to injection. He also disclosed to the participants that June 20, 2014 will be the start of treatment and this will be area wide since the CSI is windborne. Sec. Pangilinan also disclosed that 6,000 trees are targeted daily for the treatment.
In the message of Sec. Roxas, the DILG Secretary echoed Gov. Suarez’ earlier message that there is no politics when it comes to CSI infestation. Roxas also informed the attendees that Sec. Pangilinan as well as the Mayors will be on top of the situation. He further explained that in the cabinet meeting with President Aquino, the problem was discussed being an economic problem which is badly hurting the coconut farmers. The DILG Secretary also sought the cooperation of the mayors and encouraged them to collectively address the issue. Comparing the coconut disease with that of the human disease, Sec. Roxas urged the Mayors and Barangay Officials to focus on the CSI Infestation as human epidemic or pandemic which need protocols to follow just like taking antibiotics to avoid the CSI being resistant to treatment. He later on compared the PCA to DOH being doctors of coconut trees.
Roxas also disclosed that funds from the national government will be downloaded to LGUs and LGUs will be tasked to monitor and report how many hectares and trees were treated. He later on compared cocolisap to disasters which is good for the political careers of the local officials since they can help the coconut farmers who are their constituents to preserve their livelihood. Sec. Roxas shared also that the Mayors will be given with detailed areas which are affected courtesy of the PCA. Since at stake is the economic system and livelihood of Quezon, SILG Roxas warned that diseases cross LGU boundaries and knows no bounds. The CSI infestation is an economic threat which can result to criminality and other social problems. In his final message, SILG Roxas reiterated and called for everyone to play their part and pledged that the National Government will assist them.
Sec. Roxas and Sec. Pangilinan also took the opportunity to meet and interact with the Governor and the Mayors at the Governor’s Office wherein the both cabinet members listened to issues and concerns raised by the mayors.
Aside from Roxas and Pangilinan, other visitors and guest who have attended were Quezon Vice Governor Samuel B. Nantes; Quezon 2nd District Congressman Vicente Alcala; Quezon 3rd District Congresswoman Aleta Suarez; Lucena City Mayor Roderick Alcala; the Mayors of Quezon Province and their representatives led by Catanauan Mayor Ramon Orfanel, Quezon Mayors’ League President; USEC. Edel C. Guisa of OPAFSAM; DILG IV-A Regional Director Josefina E. Castilla-Go; PPCSupt. Jesus T. Gatchalian, Regional Director of PRO4A; DILG Quezon Provincial Director Enrico O. Damot; PSSupt. Ronaldo Genaro Ylagan, Provincial Director of Quezon Provincial Police Office; JCSupt. Serafin Barretto, Jr., Regional Director of BJMP IV-A; UPLB officials from the National Crop Protection Center (NCPC) and PCARRDS-DOST; the Provincial/City/Municipal Agriculturist of Quezon; the academe and the private sector.