Cotabato bans rubber planting materials from Basilan, Zamboanga
COTABATO, the Philippines’ top rubber producer, has temporarily banned the entry of all rubber planting materials from the island province of Basilan and the Zamboanga Peninsula region due to pestalotiopsis or leaf fall disease in these areas.
The ban took effect on Feb. 3 following an executive order signed by Cotabato Governor Emmylou Talino-Mendoza.
Cotabato in 2021 produced 143,000 metric tons (MT) of coagulated cup lump, the form rubber takes before it is processed, according to the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD).
The other main producers are the provinces of Zamboanga Sibugay and Basilan with 117,314 MT and 76,433 MT, respectively, according to PCAARRD, an arm of the Department of Science and Technology.
Basilan declared a state of calamity on Jan. 23 following a pestalotiopsis outbreak affecting about 90% of its rubber plantations.
Ms. Mendoza also said she issued the directive at the request of the Department of Agriculture (DA) regional office in Soccsksargen. The disease can also affect banana and coconut.
The provincial agriculturist has been tasked to implement the ban in coordination with the DA’s Bureau of Plant Industry, municipal and city agriculturist offices, and the provincial police.
Ms. Mendoza said Cotabato aims to be a leading rubber producer as well as exporter of natural rubber-based products. — Maya M. Padillo