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In coordination with the Local Government Units (LGUs) and coconut farmers, the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) intensifies its continuing campaign to contain the coconut scale insect (CSI), also widely known as “cocolisap”, plaguing the Zamboanga Peninsula.

          PCA Administrator Romulo de la Rosa bared that a total of 27.2 million pesos was allocated for the implementation of treatment interventions which include leaf pruning, oil-based spraying and mass rearing and field release of biological control agents.

“We are now focusing our resources on the conduct of research and testing of alternative methods using organic solution,” he added.

          Of the total 54,634,251 coconut trees in Zamboanga Peninsula, 834,474 of them [coconut trees] or only 1.53% are infested with cocolisap.

          “Based on our documentation, it is initially reported that 114,541 of the total infested coco trees were already pruned and 4,766 coco trees were sprayed using oil-based formulations. A total of 148,911 biocon agents were also released in the region covering about 1,500 hectares,” Administrator de la Rosa said.

          “In addition to that, we have included in the allocated budget the upgrading of our biocon laboratory which is located in the PCA Provincial Office in Zamboanga City. We are also expanding it by establishing another laboratory in our PCA – Zamboanga Research Center (ZRC) as the mass production of biocon agents is now in full swing. We will also establish barangay-based biocon laboratories through the conduct of Farmer Field School (FFS) wherein the coconut farmers will be trained in the production of predators [beetles],” he mentioned.

          The PCA is also coordinating with the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) and Philippine National Police (PNP) in establishing quarantine checkpoints in strategically located areas to avert the spread of the infestation in other parts of Mindanao and possibly in Visayan regions.  

          A task force led by the PCA Research and Development Branch (RDB) was formed to manage and implement the integrated pest management (IPM) activities of the action program. 

          “With the help and cooperation of our LGUs, farmers, land owners and constant support from our government, we believe we will succeed in implementing these control measures”, de la Rosa added.