Antique's coconuts remain Brontispa-free
by PS Mabaquiao
San Jose, Antique (10 October) -- Antique's coconuts remain Brontispa free, despite infestation of more than 171,000 coconut trees across the country, said Merlyn Sales, Manager of the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) here.
"We have coordinated with the Sangguniang Panlalawigan and Office of Governor Salvacion Z. Perez to fast track the creation of a Task Force in the fight against Brontispa pest to prevent its entry in the province, though no cases has been monitored so far", said Sales.
With the creation of the said task force, quarantine could be done to ensure invasive coconut pest could not find entry in the province, said the source. PCA reported that coconut plantation in Antique is more than 18,000 hectares and remains the province' major industry.
President Gloria Macapagal - Arroyo recently issued Executive Order naming the PCA as the lead office in the DA-led multi-agency campaign to combat Brontispa. The pest which is scientifically known as 'brontispa loggissima gestro', has so far infected coconut trees in almost 25 provinces in the country.
The Department of Agriculture has secured the commitment of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in helping quarantine officials strictly enforce quarantine measures to contain the spread of Brontispa that now poses a grave threat to the future of the P40 billion coconut industry.
Senior Superintendent Antonio Gumiran of the PNP Directorate for Operations has informed DA officials that the PNP has already issued a directive to its regional commands to help agriculture officials and local government units carry out these measures meant to prevent the coconut leaf beetle from spreading all over the country's 68 coconut producing provinces.
Gumiran further said the PNP will also instruct its highway patrols and Maritime group to check the possible transport or entry into the country's borders of palm seedlings coming from areas found to be infested with coconut leaf beetle. (PIA) [top]