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MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the mitigation measures recommended by the Department of Agriculture (DA) to address the decline in the price of copra (dried coconut meat) in the country, Malacañang said on Wednesday.
During the 46th Cabinet meeting held Tuesday night at Malacañan Palace, Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) administrator Benjamin Madrigal presented the DA’s proposed government interventions to raise the farmgate price of copra, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.

Panelo said the proposals include the full compliance of 2 percent Coconut Methyl Ester blend, as mandated by the Biofuels Act of 2006; inclusion of a proposed bill on copra prices in the President’s priority legislative agenda; and issuance of an executive order (EO) patronizing food and non-food coconut products in government projects and events.

“The new Administrator of the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), General Benjie Madrigal, provided recommendations on behalf of Secretary William Dar for said purpose,” Panelo said in a statement.

“These were approved by the President,” he added.

Copra price in the country has significantly dropped in the past three years.

The farmgate price of copra sharply declined to PHP13.39 per kilogram from January to November 2019, much lower than 2018’s PHP33.94 per kilogram and 2017’s PHP54 per kilogram.

In December 2018, copra price began to increase at PHP16 per kilogram.

The fluctuating copra price is dictated by the global oil market dominated by palm oil and soybean oil with a share of 35 percent and 26 percent, respectively.

Meantime, the proposed EO that will establish a national land use policy was also presented by National Economic and Development Authority Undersecretary Adora Navarro during the Cabinet meeting, Panelo said.

Panelo said Navarro stressed that the draft EO would provide a mechanism “that will harmonize the land use policies of government.”

“The draft shall be submitted to concerned agencies of the government in order that the latter can comment on the same, and their comments be duly considered,” he said.

It was during the 44th Cabinet meeting held on Dec. 2, 2019 when the President first agreed with the proposal for the issuance of an EO on national land use policy.

During his fourth State of the Nation Address on July 22, 2019, Duterte reiterated his call on Congress to immediately pass the measure on national land use policy to ensure the rational and sustainable use of the country’s land and physical resources.

The proposed National Land Use Act, which has been in the works since the leadership of former President Fidel V. Ramos, is among the Duterte government’s priority legislative measures.

The proposed measure is identified as a legislative agenda in the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022 to support strategies in ensuring ecological integrity, clean, and healthy environment, as well as in building safe and secure communities. (PNA)