Pests threaten Ivisan coconut industry


ROXAS City – Coconut farmers, particularly those in Ivisan, Capiz, are worried over the infestation attacking young palms.

About 900 coconut trees and 44 ornamental palm trees in Ivisan attacked by brontispa longissima, also known as the coconut leaf beetle.

The infestation has reached Brgy. Agustin Navarra and affected 700 non-bearing and 80 bearing coconut trees.

Mayor Felipe Neri Yap held a meeting with local officials and ask help from barangay officials and concerned government agencies.

The Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) of Capiz passed a resolution last week urging Gov. Victor Tanco to convene the Task Force Save our Coconut Palms.

It also passed another resolution urging all concerned provincial authorities and interested coconut farmers to take necessary action to curb a possible province-wide infestation.

The two resolutions were authored by Board Member James Magbanua.

Farmers are worried that the pests might spread.

Earlier, Mayor Yap formed the Brontispa Task Force, with Municipal Agriculturist Letecia Andrada as head.

Local officials also called for a meeting Friday last week to discuss the current situation.

Jeffrey delos Reyes, Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) provincial director, said the task force will conduct massive biological control – that is, use parasitoids.

The coconut leaf beetle, also called the coconut hispine beetle, feeds on young leaves and damages seedlings and mature coconut palms.

It has become an increasingly serious pest of coconuts not only in the Philippines but also in other Asia-Pacific countries like Vietnam, Laos and Thailand.

Metro Manila and 26 other provinces in the country were quarantined on September 27, 2007 for having been infested with this pest, primarily to save the $800-million Philippine coconut industry.

Coconut is the One Town, One Product (OTOP) of Ivisan. The town has also been identified as the first in Capiz to have its own coconut processing plant.

According to Yap, the infestation threats the coconut industry, the main source of living of Ivisan residents.

He hopes the situation will be immediately contained.

On the other hand, delos Reyes explained the distinguishing features of the brontispa and how to properly handle it.

Carelessly containing the infestation will cause the pest to multiply and eventually spread to other coconut plantations, he said in a meeting at the Ivisan municipal hall.

Delos Reyes was the first to discover the presence of brontispa in the town.

The Brontispa Task Force will conduct a massive information campaign in all barangays about the pest and its destructive effects on the coconut industry.

The campaign will also include pest prevention and treatments./PN

Suspect in P1.2-M robbery surfaces


ROXAS City — One of the two suspects in the robber of businesswoman Ney Cajandig who lost P1.2 million has surfaced.

The police identified the suspect as Joan Jimenez alias Putol.

The driver and a witness positively identified him as one of the two men who held-up Cajanding, a distributor of Rebisco Biscuit in Capiz.

Eric Alatiit identified Jimenez from pictures presented by the Roxas City police station.

The robbery happened on Monday morning.

But Jimenez denied any participation to the crime.

“I never did it. I voluntarily visited the police station to clear my name,” he said on Tuesday.
The investigation continues.

Three minors arrested by the police in a checkpoint in Brgy. Sibaguan will be probed, said Supt. Kashmir Disomangcop, Roxas police chief.

Cajanding, 58, said, however that the minors were not the ones who grabbed her bag containing the P1.2 million cash./PN


DA gives certified seeds 
to flood-hit municipalities

ROXAS City – The Department of Agriculture (DA) is distributing certified seeds to farmers in seven Capiz towns affected by a recent flashflood.

Last December, DA also extended certified seeds to farmers affected by floods, recalled Regional Executive Director Larry Nacionales.

Some 1,400 hectares planted with rice were damaged by flashfloods last week in Sigma, Cuartero, Dumarao, Mambusao, Dao, Maayon and Panit-an towns.

Nacionales said farmers whose rice plants were totally damaged will have a full subsidy of one bag certified seeds worth P1,200.

A “50-50” subsidy will be given to partially-damaged rice areas. (PNA

Tanco seeks revival of Panay railways

ROXAS City – Gov. Victor Tanco is looking forward to discussions on the proposed revival of the Panay Railway Project.

“I will ask for a briefing on the status of the Panay Railways,” he said.

Although still under study, Tanco said he favors the project.

"Railway is always a cheaper system,” he said.

The proposal already got an endorsement from the provincial government of Capiz.

Tanco said the proposed railway project will extend all the way to Caticlan, Aklan and can be implemented under a public-private partnership scheme.

Earlier, the governor was informed that there were interested investors from China and Europe. (PNA)

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