(Photo from PCA Palawan Facebook page)
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The Philippine Coconut Authority-Palawan (PCA-Palawan) has estimated that the local coconut industry has suffered a half-billion-peso loss and is hurrying to implement its action plan to assist growers in Odette’s hardest-hit areas.

Acting Division Chief Engr. Arlo Solano said on Thursday that the agency is currently moving quickly to distribute incentives and fertilizers to the most impacted areas in Palawan, particularly in the northern barangays of Puerto Princesa City and northern towns.

Solano said of the P500 million cost of damage to the local coconut sector, Roxas recorded P309,362,784 due to Odette’s devastation of 246,112 coconut trees. It is the town with the highest damage in coconuts on its record.

The PCA-Palawan has developed an action plan for municipalities impacted by Typhoon Odette and has already distributed a total of P1,834,245 in check incentives through the Incentivized Coconut Planting and Replanting Project (ICPR 2020). It was given to 291 coconut growers in the towns of San Vicente, Taytay, and Dumaran.

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“Winork-out ng management, actually regular program ito pero after typhoon, nag-double time na mailabas agad ‘yong incentives para mapakinabangan kahit hindi man totally na matugunan ang lahat ng kanilang pangangailangan, at least makatulong pansamantala,” Solano said.

“Kasi ‘yong ibang munisipyo ay hindi pa namin na-gather ‘yong final. Tentatively sa ngayon, more or less nasa P.5 billion,” he added.

The PCA has not yet determined the overall number of coconut farmers affected by the storm in the province, but it has already distributed P3.1 million in incentives and is currently processing the P7.2 million budget for the next distribution.

He said their priority municipalities are Roxas and Dumaran, and Puerto Princesa.

Solano added that PCA is also distributing fertilizers that are scheduled to arrive in the province. The fertilizers will be supplied to moderately damaged areas in impacted municipalities in order to expedite coconut tree recovery.

The regional allocation was also diverted to Palawan to replace the coconut trees damaged by the typhoon with an initial 15,000 seed nuts. The seeds are expected to arrive in Palawan from Thursday (January 6) up to Monday (January 10), in collaboration with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), through its Civil Relations Service and Southern Luzon Command.

Solano added that there is another batch to follow containing 28,000 and 14,000 seeds.

“I-establish natin ‘yong nursery dito mismo sa affected municipalities para at least ma-distribute natin agad sa mga beneficiary, directly doon sa mga napinsala — our priority sa ngayon ay northern Puerto Princesa, Roxas, at saka Dumaran. Diyan namin iko-concentrate ‘yong resources na pwede namin itulong sa ating mga naapektuhan na magsasaka,” he said.

“Actually, ang recovery niyan ay one year after pa kaya hindi mapapansin agad ngayong taon pero tuloy-tuloy pa rin ang aming intervention kung ano ‘yong available projects and program namin aside dito sa immediate intervention na ginagawa namin. Tuloy-tuloy namin gagawin para sabay-sabay mapagtulong-tulungan makabangon ang ating mga magsasaka sa niyog,” he added.

Additionally, Solano noted that realigning the fund planned to implement Coco Levy Fund projects in 2022 may be impossible. It is possible for management to prioritize the most immediately impacted areas when allocating resources.

The project is scheduled to be implemented between 2022 and 2026 under the Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Plan (CFIDP) established under the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund (CFITF) Act, or Republic Act 11524.

“Possible, pag-uusapan ‘yan sa top management, possible. Pero Coco Levy Fund, baka malabo siguro na i-realign iyan kasi kung ano ang nakalagay sa coconut industry development plan, ‘yon ang i-implement,” he explained.

“Marahil siguro ay ipa-prioritize lang based doon sa development plan. Ipa-prioritize ‘yong areas na directly affected para ma-utilize agad at mapakinabangan, iyon ang nakikinita ko na mangyayari,” he added.

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is one of the senior reporters of Palawan News. She covers agriculture, business, and different feature stories. Her interests are collecting empty bottles, aesthetic earrings, and anything that is color yellow.