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DA orders massive action to fight cocolisap in Mindanao

Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Manny Piñol has ordered massive efforts be exerted to immediately contain the “cocolisap” infestation in Basilan, Sulu, Zamboanga Peninsula and Caraga region.

‘COCOLISAP’ INVASION — Sariaya Municipal Office Staff Christian Quevada shows leaves of a coconut tree infested with ‘cocolisap.’ Almost 500 coconut trees and 1,000 mangoosteen trees were infested in Sariaya, Quezon.  (Danny J. Estacio)

‘COCOLISAP’ INVASION — Sariaya Municipal Office Staff Christian Quevada shows leaves of a coconut tree infested with ‘cocolisap.’ Almost 500 coconut trees and 1,000 mangoosteen trees were infested in Sariaya, Quezon. (Danny J. Estacio)

“Unless immediate action is taken, these pernicious insects could lead to the collapse of the coconut industry in the Southern Philippines and worsen poverty in the farming sector of the country,” he said.

Piñol said he issued a directive to DA regional officials to undertake massive efforts to support the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) in containing the cocolisap infestation.

“I have authorized the utilization of funds from the DA to immediately address the problem,” he said.

The agriculture chief stressed that cocolisap is starting to destroy coconut trees in mainland Sulu, Caraga Region and the whole Zamboanga Peninsula.

Piñol cited initial PCA reports indicating that 3 million out of the estimated 6 million trees are affected by cocolisap infestation in Basilan and Zamboanga.

He said the province of Basilan has already declared a state of calamity to save its P2.2-billion coconut industry.