Bukidnon to control entry of plants

The ordinance is expected to be effective within the year as the province's safety measure against crop damage and its resulting economic fallout, said lawyer Roland Deticio, chair of the council's committee on laws and also vice-chair of the committee on agriculture.

The ordinance provides that "no person shall bring, transport, and introduce any plant and plant materials or any part thereof into the territory of the province." The ordinance specified that no seeds, seed pieces, seedlings, cuttings, corms, tubers, suckers and crowns could be allowed entry to the province unless the bearer has a certification from the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) and the Department of Agriculture (DA).

Once implemented, the ordinance will be the first in the country, said Estellita Madjos, operations chief of the Provincial Agriculture Office.

The ordinance will expand the existing quarantine stations in entry points to the province, which is focused on protecting the province's livestock industry, Madjos said.

Bukidnon runs quarantine stations in Lorega in Kitaotao town (Davao border); Omonay in Damulog (North Cotabato border); Kalilangan (Lanao del Sur border); Alae, Manolo Fortich; San Isidro, Talakag; and Nicdao, Baungon town (Cagayan de Oro border).

The legislators considered the influx of multinational companies investing on agro-industry in Bukidnon in adopting preventive and other regulating measures in order to control possible entry or spread of destructive plant pests and diseases.

Madjos said the legislation was triggered by the spread of Panama Wilt ROC-4, a plant disease that damaged banana plantations in Calinan, Davao City. She said a weaker type of the fungal disease was already discovered in Bukidnon.

Madjos, among those tasked to develop the draft for the ordinance, said the initiative is shared by the government and Bukidnon's plantation industry. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)