THE Philippine Coconut Authority has banned the cutting of coconut trees in all areas in the country except in Basilan province and Isabela City.
“We really have to impose a moratorium because [Republic Act 8048, or the Coconut Preservation Act of 1995] is not effectively enforced. It is as if the coco loggers are just making fun of us, they are not taking it seriously. I think it is time to put my foot down on this issue,” said PCA administrator Billy Andal.
Andal signed the order along with Cabinet Secretay Leoncio Evasco Jr:, PCA governing board members Alan P. Tanjuakio, Edicio dela Torre and Ponciano A. Batugal.
The moratorium will be effective for a period of three months starting January 3 while there is an on-going review of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 10510593 amending RA 8048 which aims to streamline the processes related to permits and clearances.
“We really have to do it or else our coconut industry will be endangered. There are more coconut trees cut than planted,” said the administrator.
“What’s really getting on my nerve is the fact that the legal permits given to coco loggers are being used to illegally cut the coco trees. And the worst part is, our officials are the ones in cahoots with the coco loggers,” added Andal.
The proposed moratorium is expected to strengthen institutional mechanism in order to effectively and efficiently manage the enforcement of the law with the ultimate goal protecting the supply base of the country and to safeguard the integrity of the systems and process involved.
Basilan Province and Isabela City are exempted from the moratorium because of the Coconut Scale Insect or cocolisap and to encourage coconut lumber processors to source their supply of coconut lumber in said provinces thereby augmenting the very few lumber dealers in the affected provinces.