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PIA Press Release

DA officials, LGUs to map emergency steps vs brontispa pest

Manila (1 October) -- Department of Agriculture (DA) officials led by Secretary Arthur Yap of the Department of Agriculture (DA) are meeting this with week with local chief executives and police officers to draw up the mechanics of enforcing emergency measures ordered by President Arroyo to contain and eradicate an invasive coconut pest that could wipe out the P40-billion coconut industry.

Yap said his scheduled meeting with officials of the League of Provinces of the Philippines and the League of Municipalities this Tuesday (Oct. 2) was in response to Executive Order No. 664 issued by President Arroyo ordering the DA to "undertake emergency measures" to prevent the coconut leaf beetle (scientifically known as the Brontispa longgissima Gestro), "from spreading in 68 coconut-producing provinces."

EO 664 was issued before the President left for New York last week, after the DA reported that the beetle now posts a grave threat to the domestic coconut industry.

"We are going to ask for the assistance of our local chief executives and we will actually craft the mechanics on how to enforce this presidential directive." Yap told senators in a recent hearing on the proposed DA budget of P25.9 billion for 2008.

Yap said he will also invite representatives from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) as well as the Philippine National Police to fine-tune the implementation of these emergency measures.

He said that earlier, Vietnam made the commitment to help the Philippines stop the coconut leaf beetle from spreading and causing more tree deaths in the country at last month's bilateral meeting between President Arroyo and Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dzung in Manila.

The DA has put under quarantine Metro Manila and 26 provinces infested with the coconut leaf beetle, as part of these emergency steps to save the Philippine coconut industry from this invasive pest.

Under Special Quarantine Order No. 1 issued by the DA's Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), the department has likewise banned imports of palm seed nuts and seedlings from over two dozen countries with known or reported Brontispa infestations.

The provinces placed under quarantine are Ilocos Norte, Pangasinan, Nueva Vizcaya, Pampanga, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac, Aurora, Laguna, Batangas, Cavite, Quezon, Rizal, Southern Palawan, Albay, Camarines Sur, Sorsogon, Iloilo, Aklan, Guimaras, Bohol, Eastern Samar, Northern Samar, Zamboanga, Bukidnon and Davao. (PIA-MMIO) [top]

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