By: Gideon Belen
LUCENA CITY, Quezon — Former House Minority Leader and now Quezon Gov. Danilo E. Suarez on Sunday vowed protection for the coconut industry, as the province continues to claim fame as the country’s “Coconut Capital” by pursuing a resolution he has filed in Congress to scrap palm oil importation and address the declining price of copra and plight of the coconut farmers.
While then a House Minority Leader, Suarez has sponsored House Resolution 2519 or “A Resolution Urging the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Other Concerned Agencies to Stop the Importation of Palm Oil” and focus instead on addressing problems besetting the coconut industry and the farmers.
He said as a top coconut producing province, Quezon has sought assistance from experts of the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), DTI and Office of the Provincial Agriculturist for the on-going construction of the Quezon Coconut Research and Development Center (QCRDC) in Catanauan town.
He said the QCRDC is one of the provincial government’s interventions by training them at the soon-to-be-completed facility on modern agricultural techniques, harvest processing and innovations on value-added products from coconuts.
“Sa pamamagitan ng QCRDC at Provincial Commodity Investment Plan (PCIP) sisiguraduhin ko ang pagpapalakas ng mga pangunahing produkto sa probinsya lalo na sa niyog at iba’t-ibang produkto (Through the QCRDC and Provincial Commodity Investment Plan (PCIP), I will ensure to intensify promotion of our leading coconut products and other farm produce),” Suarez vowed.
He said the PCIP would also cover investment promotions on agricultural products like coffee, cocoa, corn, banana, abaca, pineapple, vegetables, seaweeds, and the dairy industry.
He added that the “Niyogyugan Festival” which showcases the coconut as a tree of life, would be sustained under his administration, as this will not only boost the coconut industry but also as a flourishing tourism come-on.
The coconut festival has been instrumental in transforming Quezon as the DOT’s “Destination of the Year” in 2017 and in garnering more than 8 million tourists during the “Niyogyugan Festival 2018”. (PNA)