A BICOL Region representative wants a dedicated fund to develop the pili nut industry for increased domestic consumption and export. Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel C. Lagman said he sent a letter to the Department of Agriculture (DA) recommending the creation of the Pili Industry Development Program with an allocation under the 2021 budget. Mr. Lagman told BusinessWorld he also intends to file a bill in the House of Representatives to institutionalize the program. The bill, he said, “would probably be about banning bringing out pili seedlings from the country to protect our local pili growers.” In his letter to the DA, the solon said the industry needs continuing government support for developing pili plantations, promoting the export potential of pili products, and prohibiting the exportation of raw pili seedlings to maintain the country’s dominance in pili production. Mr. Lagman said the program aims to strengthen the pili industry, currently centered in the Bicol provinces of Albay, Sorsogon and Camarines Sur — and expand it to other parts of the country suitable for the crop. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza
Cagayan de Oro coastal road to be extended, bike lanes added
THE DEPARTMENT of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is proposing to implement the second phase of the Cagayan de Oro coastal road project starting next year, which covers a 9.3-kilometer extension and adding sidewalks and bicycle lanes. “To further ease mobility in the city, we hope to extend additional 9.30 kilometers of road, which will be under Phase 2 of the project starting next year. We also would like to include street lights, sidewalk, bike lane, trees and other public space component to further improve aesthetic of this road,” Secretary Mark A. Villar said in a statement on Wednesday. The extension will run from from Barangay Puerto in Opol, Misamis Oriental to Barangay Gusa in Cagayan De Oro City. DPWH said if the funding requirement is released as proposed, the project will be completed by 2024. The initial 12.77-km stretch of the coastal road was opened in November 2017. Civil works on what is now an 18-km highway is being completed, including the construction of a rotunda that will connect Cagayan de Oro’s 3rd Bridge to the remaining section of the project in the area of the Philippine Ports Authority.
Western Visayas reopens for returning residents
FLIGHTS TO Western Visayas have resumed for returning residents after the government lifted the two-week suspension intended to mitigate the rising number of coronavirus cases in the region, especially in the major cities of Bacolod and Iloilo as well as Iloilo province. The other provinces of the region are Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, and Negros Occidental. — Gillian M. Cortez