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Cocolisap funds await PCA, City Hall coordination gab

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Funds to rehabilitate the coconut industry following the cocolisap devastation cannot be released as of yet until after the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) regional office 9 and the city government of Zamboanga through the City Agriculturist’s Office shall have coordinated with each other and reconciled their respective figures as to the exact number of coconut trees affected by the coconut scale insects (cocolisap).

This, despite the Sangguniang Panlungsod had already passed a resolution declaring a state of calamity in Zamboanga City due to cocolisap attack on the local coconut industry, affecting at least 42 barangays.

Accordingly, the PCA had reported between 100,000 to 120,000 coconut trees killed by the insects, but the City Agriculturist Office had accounted for more or less 94,000 trees.

Dr. Elmeir Apolinario, head of the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office, told the press briefing Monday that he and the PCA regional manager had already met on the matter even before the SP declaration of a state of calamity.

‘We stressed that before any releasing of funds there should be proper coordination between the PCA and the city government thru the City Agriculturist’s Office,” he said, adding that the city agriculturist himself, Dr. Diosdado Palacat, was in agreement that there should be coordination not only between the PCA and the local government but with the affected coconut famers.

“The declaration of a state of calamity has already been made. We are just trying to reconcile our figures on the exact number of trees affected by cocolisap. For sure, there will be funding from the national office (PCA),” Apolinario explained.

For her part, Mayor Beng Climaco cited the need for the city to validate the number of trees affected by cocolisap “because the PCA data and ours do not jibe.”

Nonetheless, she said the city government had already undertaken steps to address the cocolisap problem that started in Basilan and spread to the city despite the strict quarantine measures.

The mayor said Dr. Palacat had come up with his own concoction that can annihilate the cocolisap, and there is now a UP Los Baños researcher studying on the problem and has come up with recommendations as well.

One treatment utilizing insecticide injection, however, is not acceptable to the farmers, claiming it ultimately destroys or kills the trees.-(Vic Larato)




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