Save the Coconut Movement RESOLUTION on CSI coconut infestation

This resolution was triggered by the growing infestation by the Coconut Scale Insect (CSI). Task Force Sagip of the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) is promoting a chemical imported from Mitsui of Japan, which is deemed by the Save the Coconut Movement (SCM) as posing risks to both humans and the environment.
The Save the Coconut Movement (SCM) Philippines was founded by Edgar Alex Eugenio in October 2010. It was the magic of Facebook that brought its current members of 2,300 nationwide. SCM was founded out of the need to find a forum for citizens and enterprises, big or small, in the light of a growing infestation by the coconut beetle, Brontispa.  SCM is a conglomeration of organic farmers, students, academics, scientists, businessmen, government officials and employees, and ordinary citizens. Today, faced with a new threat, the Coconut Scale Insect (CSi), SCM plans to mobilize teams to harness farmers at the municipal and barangay levels, and to establish bio-centers to mobilize them to propagate CSI predators.




WHEREAS  one of the emergency measures mandated by the Philippine Coconut Authority for the implementation of E. O. 169 is the injection of the neonicotinoid Dinotefuran, sold under the Starkle brand name, into the trunks of affected coconut trees;


WHEREAS the recent Worldwide Integrated Assessment on the risks of neonicotinoids and fipronil to biodiversity and ecosystem functioning involving the review of more than 800 peer-reviewed scientific studies concludes that:

“There is a growing body of evidence that these effects pose risks to ecosystem functioning, resilience, and the services and functions provided by terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Such services and functions can be provisioning, regulating, cultural or supporting, and include amongst others: soil formation, soil quality, nutrient cycling, waste treatment and remediation, pollination, food web support, water purification, pest and disease regulation, seed dispersal, herbivory and weed control, food provision (including fish), aesthetics and recreation;”


WHEREAS one in three of the foods we eat depend on pollinators, especially honeybees, which have experienced population drops of 30% or higher in the last decade in the U.S., Europe, and the Philippines;


WHEREAS the Emergency Use Permit recently issued to Leads Agricultural Corp. for Starkle by the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA) stipulates that fruits of trees injected with neonicotinoid will be for copra use only and are not fit for human consumption as coco juice, coco meat, etc.;


WHEREAS there is no way to determine if each and every coconut sold in the market for human consumption comes from trees treated with the neonicotinoid Starkle and may therefore be toxic;


WHEREAS on “Friday, June 20, U. S. President Barack Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum that recognizes the severe losses in the populations of the nation’s pollinators, including honey bees, wild bees, monarch butterflies and others. In accordance with these losses and acknowledging the importance pollinators have to the agricultural economy, the memorandum directs federal agencies to establish a Pollinator Health Task Force, to be chaired by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), develop a pollinator health strategy within 180 days, and support and create pollinator habitat. This federal strategy will include a pollinator research action plan, with a focus on preventing and recovering from pollinator losses, including studying how various stressors, like pesticides, pathogens and management practices contribute to pollinator losses;”


WHEREAS the Netherlands Parliament recently passed a resolution banning the use of neonicotinoids in their country;


WHEREAS neonicotinoids are banned or restricted in many countries in Europe;


WHEREAS National Wildlife Refuge System chief James Kurth has directed the agency to stop using GMO crops and neonicontinoids on refuge farms by January 2016;


WHEREAS neonicotinoids are 10,000 times more toxic than DDT, a pesticide that has been banned in the US since 1972;


WHEREAS by virtue of Republic Act 6969 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR), the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is mandated to “require chemical substances and mixtures which are presently being manufactured or processed to be tested if there is reason to believe that they pose unreasonable risk or injury to health and the environment”;
WHEREAS the Philippine coconut industry contributes a total of 2 billion dollar exports to the economy annually, composed of desiccated and other coconut products for industrial application and directly and/or indirectly employs and/or provide livelihood to some 25 million Filipinos. Directly affected include the many street vendors who sell buko juice, buko pie, and other food preparations that use coconut (gata, ginataan, etc.) and households preparing and selling coco-based products.


WHEREAS the Natural Health Products Industry (NHPI), the ascendant sector of the coconut industry exporting Virgin Coconut Oil, Coconut Sugar, Coconut Juice, and other products are top Investment Priorities of the Board of Investments (BOI), and there is the very distinct possibility that their markets will implode should an instance of poisoning occur that can be linked to the use of neonicotinoids on coconut trees;


WHEREAS a similar case happened to the booming Filipino-developed product, Nata de Coco, when in the 1990’s samples were found to contain Formaldehyde, resulting in the imports of Nata de Coco shifting from the Philippines to Thailand;


WHEREAS there are other available non-toxic organic and natural remedies to the Coconut Scale Insect including biocontrol, bioremediation, and natural/organic pesticides;


WHEREAS a study conducted by Mario Navasero, Marcela Navasero, Pablito Gonzales, and Bonifacio Cayabyab, UPLB Crop Protection scientists, found that more than 80% of CSI have been parasitized by the parasitoid Comperiella unifasciata Ishii (Encyrtidae, Hymenoptera)  and the coconut plants are already in various stage of recovery ( 7-12 leaves, 1-2 new flowers) and in a recent rapid appraisal study conducted by Dr. Ted Mendoza, a UPLB Crop Scientist, in the CALABARZON Region, found that the parasitoids were already present in the coconut leaves examined under a microscope by Marcela Navasero;


WHEREAS many Environmental Biotechnologists, such as Felicitos Palis, Jose Riga, Rainier Villanueva, Candida Adalla, Teresita Espino, Gonzalo Catan, Bong Yambao, and many others, have developed organic remedies for the CSI, some of which were successfully tested and documented in PCA-led pilots;


WHEREAS there is an additional threat to all secondary agricultural sectors, including inter-crops,  directly affected with the proposed use of neonicotinoids and its consequences to the natural pollinators such as bees, beneficial insects, and fish, etc.;


WHEREAS the negative implication of a wrong hasty decision will seriously impact the future of the country which relies on coconuts as a primary industry;


WHEREAS Section 26 of the Organic Agriculture of 2010 (R.A 10068) states that “Any person who willfully and deliberately:
(a) obstructs the development of propagation of organic agriculture, or the manufacture, production, sale or use of organic agricultural inputs” shall be penalized;


WHEREAS the life of the CSI is around 46 days while the PCA claims that after 51 days Starkle will lose its toxicity, and therefore the offspring of the CSI will have been exposed to it for at least 11 days, which will cause this second generation of CSI to develop resistance to Starkle, thereby producing superbugs which will need even more toxic chemicals to control them in the future;


WHEREAS because of its physiology, the CSI cannot tolerate  excessive moisture, and therefore scientists and entomologists are of the opinion that the recent Typhoon Glenda that hit CALABARZON may have drastically reduced the CSI population in the Region, and neonicotinoid trunk injections may no longer be necessary;




1. Neonicotinoid use on coconut trees be immediately stopped as they are a threat to biodiversity and ecological system functions (such as plant pollination), human health and wellness, and the economy in general, and be replaced by organic and natural remedies, and with the recent typhoon that struck CALABARZON, the current situation may no longer be critical;


2. Neonicotinoids be banned from use in the country;


3. A total ban on the use of chemical pesticides be imposed in the affected areas to enable the predators of the coconut scale insects to thrive;


4. The PCA fund studies to identify and develop benign natural and organic solutions to the pests and diseases that our coconut trees are susceptible to, including the mass propagation of parasitoids and microorganisms to counter these pests and diseases in accordance with RA 10068;


5. The PCA facilitate the Emergency Use Permits for such natural and organic solutions to coconut pests and diseases with the FPA in accordance with RA 10068;


6. The PCA fund the rehabilitation of coconut farms that have been affected by the CSI infestation;


7.  While neonicotinoids are still being used, the PCA, or its agents, must fully explain the risks neonicotinoids pose to the environment, the ecosystem, and biodiversity to the coconut farmers and have them agree to this in writing before any trunk injections are done.


AUGUST 9, 2014
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