Press Release
October 15, 2020

Pangilinan to DPWH: Use coco coir, coco net to lower construction cost, up farmers' income

USING Philippine coco coir or coco net in building roads and other public works projects will spur local economy and increase farmers' incomes, Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan said Thursday.

"Pwedeng kumita ng dagdag na P500 hanggang P1,000 kada linggo ang ating mga nagniniyog sa coco coir at coco net production. Sa probinsya, malaking bagay 'yang dagdag na P4,000 na kita kada buwan sa bulsa ng ating mga magniniyog," said Pangilinan, a champion of Filipino farmers and fisher folk.

As Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization in 2014, Pangilinan facilitated the signing of a memorandum of agreement between the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), the National Irrigation Administration, and the Philippine Coconut Authority on the use of these coconut products in the construction of irrigation systems as well as embankment projects and slope stabilization.

"We were able to bring down the cost of said infrastructure projects from P10.6 billion to P2.7 billion because of the use of coco coir. It also provided jobs for our coconut industry farm workers and provided added income," said Pangilinan.

Pangilinan said the use of coco coir or coconut bio-engineering solutions in controlling soil erosion is encouraged in a measure recently (October 5) passed by the Senate, the Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Act (Senate Bill 1396).

Pangilinan is principal author of the measure.

At Wednesday's Senate hearing of the DPWH's P667B budget, Pangilinan mentioned that a provision was included in the 2018 General Appropriations Act on the use of coco coir and coco net but was discontinued the following year.

"May we know if the good Secretary will continue to mandate the use of coco coir in road construction and other applicable projects?" Pangilinan asked.

In response, DPWH Secretary Mark Villar said that the use of coco coir in road construction is part of the department's construction guidelines; it is used when applicable to the project.

Coco coir is material from the coconut husk usually made into coco nets, which is used in civil engineering to hold soil in place and prevent erosion.

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