Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay – The Philippine Rubber Research Institute (PRRI) has called for a coordinated effort to fight against the Pestalotiopsis Leaf Fall Disease (PLFD) of rubber in the region. In a meeting held last April 25, 2023, PRRI Executive Director Dr. Cheryl Lazaga Eusala discussed the current status of PLFD and the need for a coordinated effort to mitigate the spread of the disease. The two-day training was held in Jackies’ Hotel and Restaurant, Ipil Zamboanga Sibugay involving participants from LGUs in Ipil, Naga, Titay, RTLim, Tungawan, Office of the Provincial Agriculture, Department of Agrarian Reform, Department of Trade and Industry, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, Department of Environment and Natural Resources on the first day (May 30, 2023) and Siay, Imelda, Buug, Payao, Diplahan, Alicia, Malangas on the second day (May 31, 2023).

Director Eusala enthusiastically welcomed the attendees to the training. She began by sharing a brief history of the disease, emphasizing that PLFD can cause severe leaf fall and a significant decrease in latex production. She also stressed that there is currently no known cure for it.
During the program, the topics discussed were about the prevalence and occurrence of PLFD, including its symptoms, history, the timeline in the Philippines, recommended protocol, and factors contributing to its spread, the prevention, control, and mitigation, and the importance of quarantine, biosafety, and deputization in preventing the spread of PLFD.
The event was concluded with the signing of the Pesta Covenant. This is a written agreement and an unwavering commitment between PRRI, LGUs, and all rubber stakeholders in the region to combat PLFD.
Director Eusala believes that this training will be duplicated among LGUs and rubber farmer groups. Further, she added that it is very important to work together to protect the livelihood of rubber farmers.
With PRRI being the lead in bringing together LGUs and various rubber stakeholders in cooperation, it is indeed possible to protect the rubber industry in the region from PLFD.
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