Action vs b. longissima beetle stepped up
ROXAS CITY (18 September) -- Capiz Gov. Victor A. Tanco, Sr. has expressed concern over the threat posed by the hispine beetle (brontispa longissima), a coconut pest that has been reported to be present in some coconut trees and ornamental palms in Aklan.
Although Capiz still remains unaffected by the coconut pest, Tanco issued last week a memorandum directing the Philippine National Police (PNP) provincial office to establish quarantine checkpoints within the bounds of law to keep infected or bronstispa-carrying palm plants from entering the province.
The action of the chief provincial executive came on the heels of reports and actions made by the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) on the coconut pest threat. PCA provincial manager Jeffrey De los Reyes said the beetle causes great damage to coconut seedlings and mature palms and that it should be thwarted.
The province has a coconut industry that generates farm income and livelihood for thousands of small coconut farmers and their families and has led to the emergence of small and medium enterprises in line with the government's enterprise development program including the One Town, One Product (OTOP) project.
The PCA also has embarked on an integrated coconut processing project in the province that involves the production of cooking oil, virgin coconut oil, coir, copra meal, crude oil, and other products.
It may be recalled that the provincial government through the Office of the Provincial Veterinarian headed by Dr. Leonel Abordo in coordination with the Department of Agriculture had also put up quarantine checkpoints before at the height of the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) attack.
The scheme succeeded in keeping the province, whose economy is anchored mainly on agriculture and fisheries, and its livestock industry from the FMD menace for the benefit of farmers and livestock raisers.
The quarantine checkpoints were set to be established at the Roxas City Airport, seaports, entry and exit points to the province, and other access routes. The PNP will be coordinating closely with the PCA and quarantine unit of the Department of Agriculture for the effective implementation of the quarantine.
Local government units in Aklan also have initiated quarantine checkpoints to curb the spread of the destructive palm pest.
The PCA was also set to convene a meeting with other government agencies and offices today, September 18, to discuss the concern and organize a provincial task force to draw up and implement a more effective action against the coconut beetle menace. (PIA) [top]