Press Release
April 12, 2022

Pangilinan: Use anti-cocolisap template to solve 'harabas' onion pest problem

VICE-PRESIDENTIAL aspirant Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan on Tuesday called on the Department of Agriculture anew to put in place measures that will aid onion farmers in Occidental Mindoro affected by "harabas" pests.

Citing what he previously did amid the "cocolisap" epidemic in 2014, Pangilinan stressed that pests should not win over thinking human beings.

"Ang tao may kakayanang mag-isip ng solusyon at magpatupad nang maayos na sistema. Ipatupad sa problema ng onion pests sa Mindoro ang mga ginawa natin sa cocolisap," Pangilinan said.

"Kawawa naman ang ating mga magsasaka, mababa na nga ang bili sa kanilang ani, dinadaanan pa ng peste. Sana ay kumilos ang ating DA sa lalong madaling panahon," he added.

In 2014, then food security adviser Pangilinan caused the release of cash-for-work funds so that affected coconut farmers themselves can implement integrated pest management protocols in their respective barangays. In short, the farmers were earning as they solved the coconut infestation.

President Aquino also immediately released an executive order compelling various government agencies such as the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) to act on the matter, paving the way for the release of P400 million additional funds to address the problem.

This cocolisap solution, according to Pangilinan, can serve as a blueprint for the DA to control the onion pest in Occidental Mindoro.

"We can ask help from different stakeholders like the academe to study the matter in order to find feasible solutions to such phenomenon. The DA should also equip our farmers with the knowledge to control pests in their farms so as not to have another outbreak like the cocolisap," Pangilinan said.

The agriculture advocate immersed with the farmers of Occidental Mindoro when he visited them for the Biyahe ni Kiko as part of his campaign trail.

Occidental Mindoro farmers told Pangilinan their worries as a result of the "harabas" pests, saying the infestation hA led to lesser profit for them.

Aside from the pest, Rommel Alojado, a farmer from San Jose town, said that the current selling price of P8 per kilo of their produce is another bump for their livelihood.

"Mababa na nga ang presyo, dinaanan pa ng uod," said Alojado, adding that farmers have no other choice but to burn the infected crop.

State of calamity has since then been declared by the local government of San Jose, where 17 barangays are affected due to the low price of onions and the 'harabas' infestation.

Data released by the San Jose Municipal Agriculture Office estimate that some P145 million in revenue has been lost.

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