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Scale insects infest Quezon coconut trees anew

LUCENA CITY—The province of Quezon is practically under a state of calamity following the resurgence of scale insect infestation in coconut-growing areas, particularly in the first and second districts.

Roberto Gajo, head of the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist, presented to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) of Quezon on Monday the extent of the infestation. The pest affected not only coconut trees but also other fruit-bearing trees such as lanzones, mangosteen and rambutan.

A summary of scale insect infestation and treatment from Gajo’s office showed that a total of 259 barangays in nine municipalities and one city have been affected and a total of 52,189 coconut trees have been infested by the pest as of October 4.

The town of Sampaloc in the province’s Second District has the most number of coconut trees infested at 26,210; followed by Mauban, 12,109; Dolores, 8,090; Tiaong, 5,260; Polillo, 440; and Tayabas City, 53. Tayabas City also recorded the most number of infested mangosteen trees at 16,300.

Scale insects have also affected 430 lanzones trees in Lucban; 300 in Tiaong; 200 in Dolores; 50 in San Antonio and 30 in Sariaya.

The extent of damage caused by the pest prompted Quezon Gov. David Suarez to write a letter addressed to the SP, headed by Vice Gov. and presiding officer Sam Nantes, to inform him about the urgency of the matter.

Suarez also asked the SP to pass an ordinance allocating P15 million to stop the infestation of scale insects. The allocation, according to Gajo, should also be used for information and dissemination campaign and livelihood projects for those affected farmers.

Gajo said the budget to fight scale insects could come from the calamity fund of the province.

First District Board Member Alona Obispo had expressed reservation to the idea considering that half of the province’s P30-million calamity fund will be spent on only nine municipalities and one city. The province has a total of 39 municipalities.

Obispo, however, voted along with the other SP members for the approval of the fund allocation to eliminate the pest.

Gajo told SP members that a mixture of 8 liters of cochin oil, 300 milliliters of dishwashing liquid soap and 200 liters of water would spray 15 to 17 trees and about 80  to 100 trees would be sprayed a day.






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