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Typhoon 'Glenda' helped stem 'cocolisap' says Kiko
The online news portal of TV5

MANILA, Philippines -- Typhoon “Glenda,” which struck a number of provinces in the Southern Tagalog region in July, appears to have helped reduce the infestation of coconut scale insects, or “cocolisap,” Secretary Francis Pangilinan said Friday.

“We have received reports that it looks like there was a considerable reduction of infestation because of typhoon Glenda. From severe, we can say it's now only moderate or slight infestation," said Pangilinan, head of the Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization.

However, he gave no statistics.

"But we do not let our guard down, the insect being wind-borne and invasive.  We continue with out surveillance and with our quick response teams," Pangilinan said.

As of June, he said about 2.1 million coconut trees had been affected by the infestation, mostly in the provinces of Quezon, Laguna, Batangas and Cavite.

Philippine Coconut Authority administrator Romulo Arancon said the agency is implementing an integrated pest management control, which includes the use of the insecticide dinotefuran to combat the insects.  

He assured the chemical is safe and has low toxicity.

"We believe it is our responsibility to control the pest, nip it in the bud, and prevent its spread ... We will have bigger problems if we will (have to) move to Bicol and Visayas and coconut-growing provinces in Mindanao," Arancon said.

He added, "We are not ‘chemicalizing’ the country, it’s only 2 million trees, not even one percent out of the 325 million trees."

Pangilinan said the government has set aside P750 million to combat the cocolisap and help affected farmers recover.

The cocolisap (Aspidiotus destructor rigidus) is a small plant parasite that feeds on the leaves of young palms and on the surface of fruits that results to yellowing and wilting of the leaves.

The insect prevents photosynthesis, causing premature nut fall and low productivity.