Villar tells Philcoa exec to use allotted research funds for seed distribution
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) should leave the research to scientists and instead use its funds to acquire and distribute coconut hybrid seeds that could more than triple farmers’ yields.
Senator Cynthia Villar made the remark as the Senate Committee on Finance tackled on Friday the proposed P1 billion budget for PCA, better known as Philcoa.
Of the said budget, Philcoa allotted P48.9 million for research, which will be distributed to the agency’s research centers in Davao City, Zamboanga City, and Guinobatan, Albay, according to the agency’s administrator Bernie Cruz.
Villar, who heads the Senate Committee on Environment and Agriculture, said these production centers should be used to produce coconut hybrid seedlings instead.
“Ang gusto ko na lang ‘yung mga sinasabi niyong research center na ‘yan, gawin niyo na lang production ng seedlings,” Villar said during the hearing.
(What I want for these said research centers is to be transformed and produce seedlings.)
Cruz noted that the Albay Research Center and Zamboanga Research Center are conducting research on hybrid seedlings.
Villar then told the official to leave the research to the Department of Science and Technology’s Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development or DOST-PCAARRD.
According to Villar, a hybrid seed could produce 140 coconuts per tree annually, compared to the original seedlings which could only produce around 40 nuts per tree annually.
“Kaya tigilan niyo na ‘yang mga research-research — pabayaan niyo ang, sabihan niyo ang DOST-PCAARRD kung ano ang gusto niyong ipa-research sila ang bahalang mag-research,” Villar said.
(That’s why you should do away with this research; just let the DOST-PCAARRD do your research, they should be the ones who do the research.)
“Kayo, produce niyo ang hybrid seedlings. Makinig kayo sa akin, dahil kapag hindi kayo nakinig sa akin isusumbong ko kayo sa Presidente,” she said, referring to President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. who concurrently heads the Department of Agriculture.
(You produce the hybrid seedlings. Listen to me, or else I’ll report you to the President.)
Cruz then acquiesced to Villar’s suggestion.
“Yun ang gagawin namin, ma’am,” he said. (That we will do, ma’am.)