Beware of rear guard blocking coco reform
We are glad that Euclides Forbes disagrees with us (“PCA not incompetent, nor guilty of neglect,” Opinion, 8/18/14) since not much good happened to our coconut industry during his watch as administrator of the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA). Secretary Francis Pangilinan and new PCA head Romulo Arancon should make sure that their efforts won’t be sabotaged by Forbes’ rear guard at the PCA.
Already, Secretary Pangilinan’s work has been compromised. Forbes’ rear guard suppressed information concerning organic and nonchemical solutions to the “cocolisap” infestation in Calabarzon and other coconut areas. But Arancon sent a consultant and a deputy administrator to the successful treatment of multiawarded biotechnologist Edgar Maranan in Barangay Bitin, Bay, Laguna. The team’s findings should lead to a truly competent scientific approach to cure the infestation. To the cabal that engineered the “neonicotinoid fastbreak,” we hope that your consciences allow you to enjoy your 37 million “pieces of silver” better than Judas did.
In this regard, Forbes himself asked one group to help the PCA find a solution to this in 2013, but efforts went for naught, as reported by a columnist in another paper. We wonder if the PCA or the Department of Agriculture replied satisfactorily to the points raised by Sara Soliven de Guzman, despite the promise of Forbes and Agricultural Secretary Prospero Alcala to look into the matter.
The manner by which Secretary Pangilinan and PCA’s Arancon were trapped into approving a chemical proposal which now risks market rejection of Philippine coconut exports is something that Congress may want to look into more closely. It isn’t too late to save and rebuild this agro-industry on which 25 million Filipinos depend for their livelihood.
Allow us to close this reply by reiterating that our associates in the Philippine Coconut Society and the countryside advocacy BalikProbinsiya support the efforts of the new PCA team to revitalize our coconut industry. The new PCA team has been more responsive to suggestions on improving the agricultural, manufacturing and marketing capabilities of the industry—with the efforts to establish and update a coconut industry database and pursue intercropping among the positive steps that are immediately appreciated by the private sector.
With these new directions, we are hopeful that a stronger and more dynamic Philippine coconut industry can emerge before the end of 2015.
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