Playing with Fire
Pro coconut worker, not farmer
By Gonzalo Duque
I have already reported to the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) and I am taking this as a challenge, especially because we are going to play host to the International Coconut Growers Convention on August 26 to September 1 in time for SSS’ anniversary celebration.
PCA is really a mess and we need to address all its problems from the basic problem to the more complicated ones, which is the protection of our coconut workers. I only wish that the association of coconut growers will be expanded so that it can become a potent force in addressing the misconception about the “Tree of Life”.
You see, the American Heart Association (AHA) has made some pronouncements that are anathema to the cause of our coconut growers. I really do not know what kind of permutation they are addressing in so far as the human heart is concerned.
Because if you understand the entire coconut industry, the “Tree of Life” can cover anything, from medicine to nutrition or super nutrition, and also the use of coco biodiesel and the copra oil, and what’s this, virgin coconut oil, etc.
I must admit my only qualification for the job is that I drink coconut juice, and I drink it like it is fresh water before breakfast every morning. I used to have a kidney stone and even my son Nanoy showed me how doctors operate and remove stones from the kidney. Parang bampira, pinuputol yong tiyan. I became a regular coco juice drinker when they told me that coco juice can dissolve a stone, I tried it and VIOLA! it was successful.
That is the only qualification I have but mind you, loving coco juice means loving the whole coconut industry. So, I do not perhaps speak for coconut growers, neither to the coconut planters. More so, I do not speak for those who made the coconut levy deprive our coconut workers of their just share in the coconut industry.
So, basically, I am pro coconut workers, as distinguished from the coconut farmers who would harvest coconuts from more than four hectares of land.
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It is good to announce that my good friend, Ex-Mayor Jose “Bogs” Esteves of Milpitas, California in U.S. of A, who is a native of Dagupan City, will soon be playing a very vital role in the planting of coconut trees.
Their property, if you don’t know it yet, covers 200 hectares of shoreline in Bonuan, Dagupan City and they co-own this with the Fernandezes and the family of Fred Reyes or Pepe Reyes. I learned they had been quarreling about the ownership or the distribution of the land for quite some time and therefore it remains undeveloped.
Maybe if I talk to them and let them see some development plans, the other property owners in Dagupan, Pangasinan and the entire country will soon follow.
We can even give better jobs to all those who are already squatting in the area, like those in Sitios Iran and Iraq in Bonuan Binloc, who named their respective zones as such because these used to be teeming with sand dunes that had some similarities with the rolling deserts of these two Middle East countries.
I hope that “Bogs” Esteves will be able to assist us in spreading the good news about the “Tree of Life”. I know that he can do this because he has many connections in the United States of America, especially in the West Coast.
* * * *
As I began my work in the PCA, I found myself surrounded by bountiful and beautiful lawyers. Among them is Atty. Marlon Terrado, the ‘king” of them all, Atty. Marga Bania, Atty. Laarni Velacha, Atty. Charm Sison of Alcala, Atty. Janet Oclarit, and Ms. Joyce Paderon.
I’m just disappointed to know that many of them, are leaving the PCA because it does not pay well. And so, am hoping that we will be able to address their problems.
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