Philippine Information Agency
October 14, 2014
LEGAZPI CITY, Oct 14 (PIA) – The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) has been stepping up its information campaign, monitoring and eradication operations as key strategies in strengthening defense against the threat of Coconut Scale Insect (CSI) or cocolisap infestation in the Bicol region.
PCA Bicol regional manager Mateo Zipagan said part of these strategies is the creation and training of the Bicol CSI Task Force held on October 8-9 at the PCA Albay Research Center in Banao, Guinobatan Albay to further strengthen their stand against the threat of CSI spread in the region.
“This activity aims to strengthen our stand against the threat of CSI spread in all fronts. Focal persons from all provinces and partner agencies in the region will be part of the task force and our field team whenever surveillance and control operations are to be done,” Zipagan said.
He revealed that nine coconut trees in Sta Elena and Del Gallego have been identified as infected with cocolisap but is now under control after conducting trunk injection further noting that a defense line has been established to prevent further spread and ensure proper monitoring.
Quarantine operations has likewise been conducted in the region to prevent the spread of CSI from infested to non-infested areas as specified under Executive Order No. 169.
The said EO aims to establish emergency measures to control and manage the spread and damage of Aspidiotus rigidus or cocolisap in the country designating the PCA as the lead agency for the purpose.
“Land and seaport checkpoints have been established in all provinces in the region manned by deputized plant quarantine inspector (PQI) and quarantine guards,” Zipagan said.
From the said checkpoints, he cited the interception and return to origin of 500 pieces coconut seedlings and 60 pieces mango seedlings from Unisan, Quezon and confiscation and burning of 30 pieces infested coconut seedlings from Gumaca, Quezon to Macahadoc, Sta Elena, Camarines Norte.
CSI outbreak has been declared in Batangas, Cavite, Laguna and Quezon.
CCA senior science research specialist Johana Orense said infestation of CSI anchored in masses on the underside of infested leaflet involves yellowing and wilting of infested leaves and eventual drying at advanced stage.
“Among the visible damages are lesser and undersized nuts, shorter leaves and discolored leaflets due to drying and reduced photosynthetic activity,” she said.
Orense noted that among the factors that can trigger pest outbreak factors are temperature, relative humidity, pollutants level, climate change, planting density, susceptibility of host plants and population imbalance of the pest and natural enemies.
“If all the environmental factors favorable to CSI outbreak are met and no interventions or treatment will be made, then an outbreak will most likely occur within a 15 kilometer radius from the focus of infestation in less than a year,” she explained.
Three species of beetles and wasps identified as natural enemies of cocolisap are being mass-produced in the laboratories of PCA and Regional Crop Protection Center.
“These natural enemies are being released to control the population of cocolisap and restore a balanced ecosystem,” Orense said.(MAL/SAA-PIA5/Albay)