By Alex S. Villanueva, Jr.

THE ERADICATION of the coconut pest Brontispa longissima in the city and some parts of Southern Palawan has been successful, a Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA)-Palawan report of the control operation for 2008 showed.

Rodolfo Romasanta, the PCA-Palawan Coconut Development manager, said during the four months control and eradication period, which was completed at the end of 2008, at least 51,333 coconut trees were treated with chemicals in areas heavily-infested by the coconut leaf beetle in the municipalities of Brookes Point, Bataranza and Rizal.

Romasanta said that aside from the chemical control, other measures, such as biological control, which uses an endemic black earwig and mechanical control, an immediate and direct method of reducing pest populations, were also being applied.

He said that observation and validation from field reports revealed the recovery signs with the emergence of new leaf spears from the treated trees.

Romasanta attributed the successful operation to the support of Gov. Joel T. Reyes and 2nd Palawan District Rep. Abraham Khalil B. Mitra for providing funds for the hiring of casual workers to augment the work force in the field and for intervening with the PCA higher management to give priority to the province.

As of press time, his office is still receiving reports of infestation but farmers themselves and local government units are now knowledgeable about the eradication measures that need to be applied.

Romasanta has called on farmers to be vigilant, cooperative and to report swiftly sightings of Brontispa to totally eliminate the invasive pest.

The Brontispa longissima first came into prominence after attacking coconut and palm trees in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, China, Malaysia, Myanmar, Maldives and Sri Lanka.

By Cheryl A. Galili

ALMOST 90% of coconut trees affected by Brontispa longgissima gestro or coconut leaf beetles have been treated in southern Palawan, according to Rodolfo Romasanta, the manager of the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) in the province.

     Romasanta said that 90,000 coconut trees infested with the destructive leaf beetles last year are now on the stage of recovery. Although there’s still 10% re-occurrence, it is already manageable.

     Both the farmers and the local government units are helping each other to finally eradicate the infestations in their respective towns, he said.

    “We strengthened the monitoring system and now the farmers are fully aware on what they should do in case there are infested coconuts in their farm,” Romasanta said.

   Romansanta added that if the PCA detected areas with severe infestation within the 10% re-occurrence, the natural predators from laboratory will be set out.

   “Ngayong march kapag mayroong severe infestation na makita sa10% na niyog na may re-occurrence ng Brontispa longgissima gestro ay pakakawalan na natin iyong mga predators,” he added.  

   Meanwhile, latest reports received by the PCA Palawan revealed that 600 coconut trees are infested in Barangay Sibaring Bugsuk in Bataraza.

   Romasanta said as far as the PCA’s analysis and evaluation is concern, it is considered severe because as per report received by them, the adjacent farms are now infested too. The PCA already sent the chemicals needed for eliminating the leaf beetles.

   “Medyo malala na rin as per information iyong mga adjacent farm ay mayroon na rin hindi lang malaman kung ilan,” he said.

    The PCA Palawan manager will be sending communications to law enforcement agencies, particularly the Philippine National Police to further strengthen the monitoring of the leaf beetle in the province of Palawan.

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