Press Release
February 21, 2014

Villar pushes creation of malunggay industry

Sen. Cynthia Villar bats for the establishment of a malungay industry which will help provide a source of employment and livelihood for many Filipinos.

Villar, chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, authored Senate Bill No. 2099, or the act establishing the malunggay industry.

"Malunggay is usually found in backyards of most Filipino homes. Grown with little to no maintenance, this has taken the moniker, 'the miracle tree,' because all of its parts including leaves, pods, bark, seeds, fruits and roots are claimed to have nutritional and healing properties," Villar said.

Scientifically called moringa oleifera, this plant is also known to produce the most natural oil and is used in cooking and making salad. Its quality is being compared with olive oil.

Villar also cited the use of malunggay as traditional medicine to treat wounds, skin infections, cough, fever and respiratory ailments and improve lactation of pregnant women.

She further cited its antioxidant properties and has been used by beauty and cosmetic companies in manufacturing skin care products. Additionally, it is also proven to have anti-aging, anti-diabetic, anti-tumor, and anti-microbial properties.

"Malunggay has also been a very profitable source of livelihood for the marginalized sector. The plant has been processed into noodles, cookies, pretzels, and pandesal. Agriculture stakeholders are urged to increase its production and vary its means of consumption or uses; maximizing its potential in agribusiness and as a key solution to malnutrition chiefly in rural areas," Villar said.

"Through continuous promotion of the plant's benefits to its consumers, we can establish malunggay as a legitimate industry and realize its potential for commercialization nationally and worldwide. It can generate local employment to alleviate poverty, expand the agriculture sector, and help the nutrition and health care sector in the country," she added.

Under the bill, industry-wide development of malunggay entails appropriate land usage to increase and sustain its productivity and output. A systematic program that could improve production of malunggay through its seeding, cultivation, harvesting, and proper processing is also mandated.

It also requires more funding for the intensive scientific research and studies over the plant's propagation and the exploration of malunggay as a useful agricultural input (fertilizer) and animal feed to the farming sector, which can lessen farmers' expenses over commercialized ones.

It also mandates a study of malunggay's potential as an organic wonder in the international markets and prepare it as one of Philippines' major commercial products and invest on the biofuel potential of malunggay oil as a sustainable alternative to fossil fuel for the country's power generation.

The bill also proposed for the declaration of the month of November as month of malunggay.

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