PGMA stumbles upon promising rubber farming industry as she visits North Cotabato
Manila (23 July) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo saw in Makilala, North Cotabato the big potential of the rubber tree farming in this province when she visited this town where the Platinum Rubber Dev't Inc. (PRDI) is located.
Heavy rains forced yesterday morning the cancellation of President Arroyo's visit to this town which boasts one of the biggest rubber plantations in this province.
When weather improved, the President decided to push through with her trip here with local officials, rubber industry stakeholders and simple folks welcoming her and the members of her delegation.
President Arroyo, in her speech, lauded the rubber farmers for their success stories. "Congratulations. Very good," President Arroyo said as Jake Sandique, owner and chief operations officer of Platinum Rubber Development Inc. briefed her on the positive impact of rubber farming on the lives of Makilala folks and on the province as a whole.
Immediately after her chopper touched down at Makilala Elementary School from General Santos City, the President motored to the PRDI plantation at Sitio Del Asuncion in Barangay Poblacion here.
At the plantation site, Sandique briefed the President on how the rubber industry in Makilala changed the lives of the townsfolk for the better.
Sandique told the President that a rubber farmer in Makilala earns P21,000 a month while a tapper (worker) earns more or less P500 a day or P10,000 in monthly net income.
The 2007 data from the provincial capitol showed that at least 23,631 jobs have been generated by the rubber farming industry.
Welcoming the President in her visit to the plantation were North Cotabato Gov. Jesus N. Sacdalan, 2nd District Rep. Bernardo F. Pinol Jr., 1st District Rep. Emmilou T. Mendoza, Makilala Mayor Onofre L. Respicio, Makilala Vice Mayor Manuel Lalaguna, and 18 mayors of the province.
Press Secretary Jesus Dureza accompanied the President to her visit here.
During the same visit, Mayor Respicio demonstrated to the President the proper way of budding a rubber tree with the use of the new technology adopted by the municipality in the propagation of rubber trees.
In the budding of a rubber tree, a transparent plastic is wrapped around the lower branch of a tree and, after five to seven days, the top portion of the branch is ready to be cut from the main branch of the tree.
"This is the reason, Madam President, why our town is very successful in rubber farming because even our own mayor knows how to bud a rubber tree," Sandique said.
Sandique also told the President that the town of Makilala has 7,000 to 8,000 rubber plantations, while other North Cotabato towns have a total 23,432 hectares planted to rubber trees.
He said the province needs help from the national government for the replanting and implementation of new rubber tree planting programs, including the modernization their facilities and technology.
"There is money in rubber, Madam President. The advantage of rubber tree is just like an automated machine (ATM). Pero kumpara sa ATM, pag nawalan ng laman ang machine, hindi maglalabas ng pera. Pero ang rubber tree, hindi nawawalan ng pera dahil 24 hours at seven days a week siya kung maglabas ng pera mula sa latex o dagta ('white gold') galing sa puno," Sandique narrated.
He also proposed to the President to include rubber tree farming as part of the national government's reforestation program. (PIA-MMIO) [top]