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PIA Press Release

Feature: New Corella goes for rubber!

Davao City (19 November) -- The newest way to reforest New Corella's deteriorating woodlands without the risk of intensive logging comes in rubber.

The Municipality of New Corella took pride of its immense forest areas yet are now believed to be worsened due to uncontrolled logging activities in timberlands.

In fact, 2004 statistics shows that only 1,500 hectares remain to be forested and 6.25% of forest trees lose per year.

The municipal government avowed to address the problem while it is still manageable. Thus, it tapped rubber as potential substitute for reforestation.

Though the town recorded 62.5 hectares of land already planted with rubber, consisting of 0.19% of its total land area, the present administration found it insufficient to counter given conditions.

Mayor Nestor Alcoran hence called for Rubber Industry Forum last October 31 at ABC Hall, New Corella, Davao Del Norte in partnership with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) XI.

During the said forum Mayor Alcoran expressed hopes to increase the number of hectares planted with rubber and targeted 1,000 hectares by 2010.

The mayor added that such endeavor forms part of the immediate response to the global warming phenomenon while at the same time the community can augment their income through the latex that the rubber produces.

The DOLE XI is active in promoting rubber in regional wide, along with oil palm and sea weeds.

The department commissioned the expertise of Engr. Bennet Santander, an industrialist who retired from Malaysia, to help develop the rubber industry in Region XI.

Engr. Santander discussed the industry before the 56 participants, composing of barangay officials, local farmers and cooperatives of New Corella.

He stressed the need of at least five hectares for a clonal garden and another three for nursery to start up the industry. This he said enough for the entire municipality to reach its target.

Municipal Agriculturist Floro Sumuan answered, "With regards to clonal garden, we still have government sites that are not yet being utilized. I think the farmers' problem would be the right clones and the transfer of technology."

Participants supported the statements of Sumuan. They even asked Engr. Santander if he could provide the latest clones of rubber packaged with the right technology.

The industrialist saw no problem with it as long as the municipality makes the requirements ready, "By the time that you are ready with your counterpart, i will bring for you the clones apt in your area", said Santander.

Davao Del Norte DOLE Provincial Officer Milagros Gutierrez assured that the agency is willing to help local government units that want to go with rubber.

Gutierrez said, "The LGU will have to submit project proposal on rubber, of course, indicating its counterpart. Or to fast track, the proposal could be coursed through our conduit-cooperative partners operating in your locality."

The DOLE Provincial Officer said that rubber becomes one of the industries that the department is advocating. She added that DOLE allocated budget for it. Yet, first come first serve basis applies to all proponents.

DOLE XI has committed to grow rubber industry in the region. It enumerated the many benefits rubber can offer.

According to DOLE, rubber is a long term perennial crop with dependable market. It can provide good daily, weekly or fortnightly income. It has increasing global demand. It is dependable for job generator and is environmental friendly. Ultimately, rubber can promote peace and stability.

Mayor Alcoran concluded during the forum that rubber is the answer to reforestation and economic growth of New Corella. He guaranteed to pursue the industry while urging the participants to get involved in the said endeavor.

The Rubber Industry Forum was one major activity of New Corella Public Employment Service Office (PESO). It collected 72.6 hectares of land from participants who committed to go with rubber. (IO New Corella/PIA XI) [top]

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