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PIA Press Release
2009/02/10

PCA calls for allout support to resist brontispa

By Erna Gorne

Southern Leyte (February 10) -- The coconut leaf bettle, Brontispa a new malady of coconut in Asia and the Pacific Region, has not affected the coconut industry in the province but the chances of possible attack may come anytime, Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) Provincial Director Manuel Sembrano said.

He urged the local coconut farmers here to be vigilant and to report immediately to his office for any suspect of Brontispa infection in the province. Even as he also called for all out support from the people should the gigantic problem occurs.

He reported that recently city government officials were panicked with the alleged report on the presence of Brontispa infesting to at least 21 coconut trees in Barangay Lonoy in Maasin City and immediately called for the assistance from the office of Presidential Assistant for the Visayas and DTI Regional Director Cynthia Nierras. However, upon the ocular inspection of the provincial office of the PCA here the mentioned coconut trees turned out to be infected with fungus which caused the withering of the coconut leaves.

Sembrano ordered for the burning of the reported infected coconut trees to control the spread of the fungus to other places.

He further said that though he is not really sure if there is no Brontispa attack since the carriers of the dreaded coconut bettle mostly among the passenger vehicles plying from Brontispa infested provinces could not be controlled coming in to the province.

Brontispa is an invasive pest introduced to many ASEAN member-countries, presumably, in early 2000's via importation of ornamental plants. It causes great damage to seedlings and mature coconut trees and ornamental palms thereby killing the young spears and eventually the whole trees. (PIA) [top]

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