Pest attacks Ivisan coconut trees


ROXAS City — About 115 coconut trees and 11 ornamental palm trees in Ivisan, Capiz were infested by brontispa longissima, also known as the coconut leaf beetle.

The infestation alarmed coconut farmers and residents in the town. This prompted Mayor Felipe Neri Yap to meet and ask help from barangay officials and concerned government agencies.

Affected coconut farmers in the town were Mario Aldea, Calito Caldeo, Rene Lapidez, Nilo Unarce, Bimbo Aldea, Ronald Orola and Poblacion Sur Barangay Captain Elmor Buloso.

To address the infestation, Yap formed the Brontispa Task Force, with Municipal Agriculturist Letecia Andrada as head.

The coconut leaf beetle, also called the coconut hispine beetle, feeds on young leaves and damages seedling 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 is a threat to the coconut industry, the main source of living of Ivisan residents.

He hopes the situation will be immediately contained.

On the other hand, Philippine Coconut Authority Provincial Manager Jeffry 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 upon examining the palm of scorched coconut trees.

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

They will also include pest prevention and treatment measures in the information drive./PN


City steps up anti-smoking drive

ROXAS City — This city is stepping up its efforts in strictly banning smoking in public places.

With the renewed enforcement of the anti-smoking ordinance, anti-smoking posters were put on various corners in the Roxas City hall.

City government offices were even warned of getting laid off once they are caught smoking inside their offices.

Mayor Angel Alan Celino supports the campaign.

A task force will apprehend and penalize violators. Penalty ranges from P1,000 to P3,000 on first to third offenses.

The ordinance is reinforced by Republic Act (RA) 9211, otherwise known as the Tobacco Regulation Act of 2003.

Restriction of smoking in public places such as the municipal building and similar places aims to protect the public, particularly non-smokers, from inhaling second-hand smoke.

However, the ordinance has also allowed designated smoking areas for the benefit of those who cannot stop their longing for cigarettes.

The initiative for a smoke-free city also supports the Civil Service Commission (CSC) Memorandum Circular that prohibits smoking in all government premises, building and grounds to ensure a healthy and productive workforce.

The basis for the circular was RA 9211 as well as the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

Second-hand smoke could lead to lung cancer, increased risk of heart attack and respiratory complications.

The CSC has also prohibited smoking in government vehicles, and ordered the removal of ashtrays and other receptacles for dispensing cigarette refuse in non-smoking areas.

It said building administrators should ensure strict compliance of the smoking ban, while heads of agencies should take appropriate measures to inform employees and their transacting public on the requirements of the CSC policy. (Alex Lumaque/JCM/PIA/PN)


Hospital, 2 towns get ambulance

ROXAS City — The Mambusao District Hospital (MDH) and the towns of Pilar and Pontevedra each received an ambulance from the provincial government and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).

Gov. Victor Tanco turned over the three ambulances to beneficiary representatives at the Provincial Capitol on Thursday.

The initiative was part of the governor’s continuing thrust in giving quality healthcare services to the Capiceños, officials said.

As part of his development agenda “Healthy Capiceños,” Tanco aims to provide ambulances to every municipality, Rural Health Unit and district hospital in the province in cooperation with the PCSO.

“Rest assured that more projects and developments to improve the health services for the people of Capiz are coming,” said Tanco.

“This is the essence of my slogan ‘Pag-ulikid: Labi sa tanan ang Tawo (Concern to the people above all),’” he said.

MDH Chief of Hospital Dr. Florencio Luching, Pilar Councilor Doujie Jack Cantiller and Pontevedra Mayor Steve Contreras received their respective ambulances.

The ambulances were equipped with facilities such as a medicine box, a sphygmomanometer, a stethoscope and a mini-oxygen tank with regulator.

The provincial government also distributed ambulances to the Roxas Memorial Provincial Hospital, Bailan District Hospital, Tapaz District Hospital, Dao District Hospital, Dumarao Medicare Community, Roxas City government and the municipality of Sigma on December 6 last year. (CPPB/PN)

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