MANILA — Following reports of over one million coconut trees in danger of dying, President Benigno Aquino III has issued an executive order (EO) declaring a state of emergency on areas infested by coconut scale insects.
Among the areas included in the state of emergency declaration recommended by Kiko Pangilinan, Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization, are Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon) and Basilan.
“It is serious enough to ask for emergency measures… If we don’t address this, it could spread to the Bicol region, and also in the Zamboanga peninsula,” Pangilinan told ANC on Friday.
The state of emergency was declared following the possibility of a P33 billion loss in the coconut industry if the disaster is not treated.
Pangilinan also said that several operations to manage the infestation which started in 2010, will be starting soon.
“The target is to treat anywhere between 15,000-17,000 trees a day. A million trees are affected. A million is around less than 2% of the entire tree population in Calabarazon,” he said.
“I hope that with the intervention, we will be able to manage this effectively and bring it down to manageable levels,” he added.
With reports from ABS-CBN News