Agriculture chief bans cutting of coconut trees
LEGAZPI CITY—Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala on Thursday declared a total ban on cutting coconut trees in Albay after complaints that coconut-tree cutting triggered landslide and floods in remote low-lying and hillside villages in the province.
At a breakfast meeting on Thursday, Alcala responded to the request of Albay Gov. Joey Salceda and ordered the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) in Albay to suspend the issuance of permits to cut coconut trees.
Alcala, at a press conference here, said the order would be strictly enforced starting Jan. 30. He also ordered PCA to submit regular reports on the ban’s enforcement.
Asked why the ban only covered Albay, Alcala said his office acted on the basis of a special request from Salceda.
Salceda said the unchecked cutting of coconut trees has been killing the coconut industry. Albay, he said, would be better off economically by producing coconut-based products like buko juice or coconut cream than selling coconut lumber.
PCA data showed that 99,975 hectares of land are planted with coconut trees in Albay.
A total ban on coconut tree cutting was declared in 2010 but lifted last year, according to Salvador Alban, a senior agriculturist of PCA in Albay.
After the ban has been lifted, PCA in Albay granted close to 300 permits to cut more than 6,000 coconut trees.
Alcala was in Albay yesterday to turn over checks to beneficiaries of a Department of Agriculture program in the province.
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