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PIA Press Release

PGMA orders stepped up efforts to increase coconut production

Manila (8 July) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo directed the Department of Science of Technology (DOST) to conduct further research to maximize the productivity of the lowly and oftentimes overlooked coconut as a means to improve the lives of millions of Filipinos.

In her speech keynoting the 50th Anniversary of the DOST at the World Trade Center in Pasay yesterday morning, the President said that "by improving productivity in coconut areas, more money can be put in poor people's pockets so they can afford the higher world price of food."

For one thing, the largescale coconut production would make virgin coconut "as familiar in kitchen cabinets as olive oil."

The DOST, through its Industrial Technology Development Institute (ITDI), in cooperation with the Ateneo de Manila University, is conducting various researches on the coconut involving production, development and uses of coconut by-products and plant infestation.

"The DOST is speeding up the development of physio-chemical and biological studies for virgin coconut oil to ensure its high quality in international and local markets," the President said.

"It is carrying our clinical tests to verify the therapeutic claims for this very simple yet very useful coconut derivative," the President added.

The President attended the event wearing a beautifully crafted jacket and pant suit ensemble made of piņa dyed with an old rose color extracted from the coconut.

Science and Technology Secretary Estrella Alabastro said the President's outfit was made from natural fibers with the old rose dye extracted from the husk of a young coconut.

She said the extraction process was developed by the DOST which, under the President's directive, is conducting studies on enhancing the productivity of coconut trees.

Anthony Cruz Legarda, the New York-based Filipino designer who created the President's ensemble, and the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member country representatives who attended the event, said that the Philippines stands to benefit from the current demand for organic fibers and colors in the international market.

"Philippine textiles, if introduced properly in the international market, will do very well especially right now, (since the demand for) organic (materials) is very big. The piņa, piņasetta and these organic and natural dyes that we are using will do very well," Legarda said.

The President, who outshown everyone with her striking new pant and suit get-up, said, "This is an example of how an indigenous product, like coconut, can make its mark in this modern day and age." (PIA-MMIO) [top]

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