The regional plant quarantine division of the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Plant Industry (DA-BPI) said except for Roxas town, the mango pulp weevil (MPW) has not been detected in any other municipality in northern Palawan.
Reynaldo C. Martinez, regional manager of the BPI’s National Plant Quarantine Services Division (NPQSD), said Thursday that their latest monitoring in the municipalities of El Nido, Taytay, San Vicente, and others did not “so far” indicate any presence of the MPW infestation.
Martinez said a scheduled verification process will be done in the northern part of the province to make sure that it stays that way.
In the case of Roxas, he said that although the MPW was detected, the municipal government had acted fast enough to ensure that the growers immediately apply the “protocol of pruning and spraying” to stop the spread.
“Sa Roxas meron pero iilang puno lang naman. Hindi widespread ang infestation sa Roxas, at sa ibang munisipyo ay wala naman. Magaling ang Roxas kasi they acted immediately by following the protocol sa pag-stop ng spread. Nag-pruning at nag-spray sila agad,” Martinez said.
(There is MPW in Roxas but detected only in a few trees. The infestation in Roxas is not widespread, and in other municipalities, there is no infestation. Roxas did well because it acted immediately by following the protocol that would stop the spread. They conducted pruning and spraying to stop the spread.)
He said if the pruning and spraying protocol is strictly followed the moment the MPW manifests in any mango tree, the infestation will not thrive in other Palawan municipalities.
Martinez added that the DA-BPI still remains single-minded in the implementation of the ban on transporting Palawan mangoes anywhere else in the country.
“Hindi talaga puwedeng makalabas ng Palawan. Ang daming nagrereklamo pero hindi talaga puwedeng ilabas ang mangoes galing Palawan. ‘Yan ang patuloy na tinutuunan namin ng pansin kasi nga, imagine kung makalabas ‘yan… ano na lang ang mangyayari sa industriya ng manga sa Pilipinas?” he said.
(They can’t get out of Palawan. A lot are complaining but we’re strict in the implementation on Palawan mangoes. That’s what we are continuously monitoring because imagine if they are transported outside… what will happen to the mango industry in the Philippines?)
Martinez also said he is not aware if the P100 million MPW eradication project has already been canceled by the DA.
What he knows, he explained, is that the DA is focusing on strengthening the processing of mango by-products because there is no ban against their transportation outside the province.
“Ang pinalalakas ngayon ay ‘yong sa pag-process ng by-products into purees at iba pa (What’s being strengthened right now is the processing of by-products into purees and others),” he said.
The fund for the project was provided by the DA to Palawan through the Agriculture Competitive Enhancement Program (ACEP) in 2009.
In December last year, Palawan sought the help of DA Sec. Emmanuel Piñol saving its mango industry from the pest problem that has crossed the northern provincial border to Roxas.
Board member Albert Rama said a “massive eradication program” is needed, or there will be no more hope for the province’s mango harvest to be sold as a fruit.