Smuggled coconuts seized
A ten-wheeler truck loaded with coconuts valued at P200,000 was apprehended yesterday at the Labogon private wharf in Mandaue City.
The attempt to smuggle out partially dehusked coconuts was stopped by the Coast Guard and personnel of the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA).
The coconuts came from Leyte province, where a pest infestation problem has been reported, said PCA Regional Director Deodiro Ravelo.
This is the first apprehension made by the PCA regional office.
He said authorities were also alarmed by the undocumented shipment abroad of coconuts, a trend noticed since last year by coconut oil milers and desiccators.
Ravelo said they have been tracing these shipments for the past five months.
If the trend continues, said Ravelo, there could be a shortage of supply in the country, affecting a main source of livelihood in rural areas around the country.
Yesterday, the truck cargo was put on hold after the driver could not show a certificate of transfer and phytosanitary certification.
He said the shipment came from Leyte province, where a pest infestation problem caused by the coconut hispine beetle (Brontispa longgisima) and kadang-kadang, a type of insect, has been reported.
While no danger is posed to human beings, other coconut farms could be infected, he said.
PO1 Faustrio Pepito of the Coast Guard stationed in Mandaue City said the truck driver did not declare the contents of the truck and only presented a document that said the truck was “loaded.”
The driver wouldn’t reveal the destination of the cargo.
The Philippines is known worldwide as a leading coconut producer.
Ludo & Luym in Cebu City used to operate the biggest copra crushing plant in Far East Asia.
Ravelo said that they are eyeing more apprehensions in the coming months.
The apprehension was covered by Executive Order 664, which establishes emergency measures to control and eradicate the spread of brontispa in the Philippine coconut industry.
Authorities were waiting for two more cargo shipments as of 6 p.m.
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