May 21, 2024 || Labangan, Zamboanga Del Sur – A new threat looms over rubber plantations in Zamboanga Del Sur with the emergence of the pinhole borer, a potentially devastating pest. Local farmer Roel Ancog first reported the infestation in December 2023, but his initial report was delayed due to a more urgent outbreak of Pestalotiopsis Leaf Fall Disease (PLFD).

The Philippine Rubber Research Institute (PRRI), through its Crop Management Division (CMD) team led by Sir Ronie Magdua and Sir Paquito Caluban, recently visited Mr. Ancog’s farm. The team collected samples for identification and educated Mr. Ancog about the pest. However, readily available control measures are currently unavailable, highlighting the need for further research.

This pinhole borer outbreak serves as a wake-up call for the rubber industry. While PRRI-CMD’s response to Mr. Ancog’s report is a positive step, more needs to be done. Increased research efforts, improved communication with farmers, and a collaborative strategy are essential to mitigate the potential damage from this new threat.

Under the leadership of Executive Director Dr. Cheryl L. Eusala, Ph.D., PRRI is committed to transparency and collaboration in addressing this issue. Dr. Eusala, who champions the “Bagong Pilipinas” vision of the President alongside the directives of the Department of Agriculture (DA), emphasizes the importance of working together to ensure a thriving rubber industry.