Department of Agriculture bans coco tree-cutting in Albay | Inquirer News

Department of Agriculture bans coco tree-cutting in Albay

/ 06:49 AM January 30, 2012

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Agriculture (DA) has prohibited the cutting of coconut trees in Albay to boost the province’s resilience against typhoons and other weather-related calamities.

In his visit to the province last week, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said he had ordered a stop to the cutting of coconut trees in the province following a request by Gov. Joey Salceda.

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Salceda had warned that the uncontrolled cutting of coconut trees could trigger landslides and flooding in low-lying villages in the province.

Albay, which faces the Pacific Ocean, is on the path of  many typhoons that hit the Philippines. The province is also prone to heavy monsoon rains.

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Following consultations with local officials, Alcala ordered Philippine Coconut Authority Administrator Euclides Forbes and PCA Bicol Regional Director Eduardo Allorde to stop issuing permits to cut coconut trees beginning Jan. 30.

Cut coconut trees are normally used for lumber.

Albay is one of the country’s top coconut-producing provinces. It is one of 12 provinces that will be prioritized as beneficiaries of the coco levy funds once they are ordered released by the Supreme Court to the government.

Local Albay officials also urged Alcala to stop the massive illegal fishing activities and intrusion of commercial fishers into Albay municipal waters, especially along Burias Pass, which deprives marginal fishermen of their only means of  livelihood.

Alcala said he had ordered Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR)-Bicol Regional Director Dennis del Socorro to closely coordinate with local officials and go after commercial fishers who violate the law.

The BFAR was also directed to help provide livelihood to marginal fishermen via the aqua-silviculture program, which raises fish species like grouper, tilapia and mudcrabs in mangrove areas. Likewise, the DA-BFAR is putting up multi-species hatcheries in Bicol and other parts of the country to provide additional income and employment to fisherfolk.

In his trip to the Bicol region, Alcala said the DA had earmarked   more than P19-million worth of agricultural and fishery inputs, equipment and livelihood projects to benefit thousands of farmers, fisherfolk and their communities in Albay and Sorsogon.

The DA also distributed to farmers’ and fishers’ cooperatives, irrigators associations and local officials farm equipment worth P14 million, 20 bottom-set gillnets worth  P1.2 million and  livelihood projects amounting  to  P1.2 million under  the government’s Agrikultura: Kaagapay ng Bayang Pinoy or Akbay livelihood program.

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TAGS: Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, Albay, cutting of coconut trees, Department of Agriculture (DA), Gov. Joey Salceda
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