The dreaded Brontispa (Brontispa longissima Gestro), also called coconut leaf beetle (CLB) and coconut hispine beetle, now affects 5 barangays in General Santos City!
This is probably the newest update about the spread of this insect pest in the Philippines, having been reported only this second half of July 2010. In January 2010, the barangay of Baluan was placed under agricultural quarantine to prevent the spread of the beetle. And yet, 5 months later, 4 more barangays are infested, namely Buayan, Fatima, Labangal and San Jose.
This only shows how fast this beetle multiplies and spread, despite the diligence of the people concerned to contain their presence in one location or to eradicate them right there.
The CLB actually is no longer new in the Philippines. It was reportedly first sighted among coconut trees in Pasay City in 2005. The pest is believed to have been introduced via importation of royal palms from other countries in Southeast Asia. Since then, the infestation has spread throughout the country at a rapid rate.
The Philippine coconut industry which generates foreign earning of about $800 milion dollars a year is at stake. But most fearsome is the adverse effect that Brontispa epidemic may directly cause to the 3.5 million coconut farmers and their families.
Click to read Brontispa Identification
A Call For Concerted Effort
Unless the citizenry becomes more active in eliminating this threat, CLB infestation will likely become a national emergency. At the least, anyone can report early sighting of the beetle to the proper authorities.
Reporting the presence of this insect pest may seem insignificant,
but it is essential in order to effect control measures and to prevent
To identify damage symptoms of CLB, click here.
This is a call for every farmer and citizen to immediately report the presence of CLB in places where infestation has not been detected as yet. Certainly there are still many such places in the country like the province of Sarangani.
But even Sarangani may not be spared if the populace does not join forces and help prevent the entry of the beetle. This will be catastrophic because coconut is a major crop in the province. In fact Glan, one of its component towns, celebrates yearly the Lubi-lubi Festival as a tribute to coconut.
How and Where To Report
To report sighting of CLB, you are advised to go to your nearest Philippine Coconut Authority, City Agriculturist, Provincial Agriculturist, or Municipal Agriculturist office. Or directly communicate with these offices thru their contact addresses.
As of August 14, 2010, the following offices have voluntarily provided their contact informations:
Philippine Coconut Authority- Region XII, General Santos City- firstname.lastname@example.org
City Agriculturist's Office, General Santos City- email@example.com, 083-553-8643.