LETTER TO MR PANGILINAN re- coconut chemical

Assistant President for Agriculture
September 12, 2014


Dear Mr. Kiko Pangilinan
Copy Arancon, SCM, Task Force Sagip
Copy coconut communities, NGOs, and enterprises


I received a copy of the letter of Save the Coconut Movement addressed to you, copy furnished Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) Director Romulo Arancon, dated way back July 22 (shown below) stating that UPLB scientists in their field studies revealed that “as many as 80% or more of CSI (coconut scale insect) have been parasitized (killed by parasites)” in survey areas in “Quezon, Laguna, Batangas, Cavite”.


This was before Typhoon Glenda, which further neutralized the infestation, as stated in your recent press statement. This implied that you were going to stop the use of chemicals. But what a twist of events, our inside sources revealed that the injection of the chemical Starkle will be continued in 12 towns of Batangas because typhoon Glenda did not hit hard these towns (Agoncillo, Balayan, Cuenca, Nasugbu, Padre Garcia, San Jose, San Juan, San Nicolas, Sta. Teresita, Talisay, Tuy) and CSi infestation in these areas is still heavy. This contradicts recent surveys in two of the said towns, revealing that paratization has in fact improved from 80% in July to 80% to 100% today.


Before I release an article on this matter, I want to get your side. Either people under you do not know or are defying your orders, or you blinked and changed your mind. Which is it? Were you given documents showing that indeed there is still heavy infestation in Batangas? Or was it an unfounded report?


I understand that you are a lawyer, and you depend heavily on Arancon, who is a coconut technical expert, as a basis of your decisions. Did you make the decision based on his word? Did Arancon make his decision based on scientific documents proving heavy infestation in these 12 towns of Batangas? Did he inform you of his decision?


If the SCM data had any weight on your decision, you would have realized that there is no more threat of massive infestation and that the deadly chemical was no longer needed as far back as July. Who is making all the decisions? You, Arancon, the two of you together? Are you aware of these critical decisions below you that affect the entire national economy and 25 million marginals dependent on the coconut industry, in case the multi-billion global market disappears when buyers learn we inject into the heart of our coconuts a toxic chemical banned in the EU and parts of the US?


If it has now been proven that there is no longer any threat or urgency, and it was proven that the chemical used is so deadly, as to have irreversible effects on river and lake systems, especially if applied to a staggering 1.2 million trees (minimum), and it was proven that organics and parasitoids are the better options, why do you insist on the chemical option? In fact, human intervention is not so critical now.


Is it because you have given out contracts for the chemical injections, which are irreversible, and the chemicals have to be used, otherwise the contractors cannot renew their contracts? I understand the campaign to inject the chemical has been stalled not on the logic of environmental or economic harm, but because contractors have not given liquidation reports, a prerequisite in giving them more chemicals to use.


Are they unable to give liquidation reports because they failed to use the chemicals because farmers have been rejecting it left and right? Is there a danger they will dump this somewhere and get ghost farmers to sign documents? Are you now trying to continue chemical injection only to UNLOAD the chemicals in the contractors’ hands and DECONGEST the oversupply of unused chemicals into these 12 towns Batangas on the pretext of heavy infestation, otherwise contractors and their agents, whoever they are in government, universities, or corporations, lose millions in income?


I issued an article last week saying that, according to reliable inside sources, PCA will stop using chemicals. Many people gave reactions of relief. Vin Lava of PCM said my claim was not true. Was my article wrong then in presuming PCA has stopped using chemicals? Here is that previous article, which you and PCA received – http://www.sisterraquel.com/2014/08/coco-chem-use


Please enlighten the public and give us the true picture.


I hope you are able to answer these questions before I put out an article. Without a reply from you, I will simply say these questions have remained unanswered as of press time.


Thank you for your attention. I am looking forward to your earliest reply.




Bernie V. Lopez
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