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by Raimund Marasigan
President Aquino visits coco water plantation in Candelaria
CANDELARIA, Quezon - President Benigno S. Aquino III visited on Monday the coconut water plantation of the Peter Paul Philippine Corporation (PPPC) as part of his administration's goal to accelerate the growth of the coconut industry.
Upon his arrival at the plantation located in Barangay Pahinga Norte, the Chief Executive was welcomed by PPPC President Joey Quimson and other PPPC officials. He was accompanied by Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo and Representative Irvin Alcala of the Quezon 2nd District
The President toured the coconut water plantation that provide the continuous supply of fresh premium coconuts year round. The 13-hectare property is located about 100 kilometers south of the city of Manila.
The President's visit to the PPPC is designed to help highlight the importance of the collaboration between the government and the business sector in boosting the country's coconut production.
During his visit, the President was briefed on the PPPC's operations, and an update on the collaboration between the government, through the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Trade and Industry, and the PPPC to accelerate the growth of the coconut industry.
The PPPC, likewise, briefed the President on the various initiatives and programs aimed at improving the productivity to cope with the rising global demand for coconut products.
The President, for his part, expressed his administration's support for the integrated development of the coconut industry.
The government's efforts to promote coco water exports resulted in 823 percent increase - from 1.81 million liters worth $1.84 million in 2010 to 16.75 million liters worth $15.11 million in 2011.
It also resulted in the 39.15 percent increase in the quantity of coco coir exports from 4.43 million kilograms (net) worth $974,586 in 2010 to 6.16 million kg (net) worth $2.01 million in 2011. At present, the Philippines is one of the major exporters of coco water.
Meanwhile, coconut water exports from the Philippines posted an 81-percent increase in volume for the first semester of 2012, increasing from 5.662 million liters to 10.249 million liters for the same period in 2011.
The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) also reported $11.8 million in earnings, which is a 100.54-percent increase from the previous year's $5.57 million. Emerging markets for coconut water consumption accounted for almost 7 percent of export volumes.
The PPPC was established in Candelaria, Quezon on June 29, 1946 - just a couple of days before the Philippines gained independence from American rule.
In 1962, majority interest in the company was sold to the Filipino group. The company has established production facilities to produce other coconut products, such as coconut milk and cream, coconut water, virgin coconut oil, coconut flour/fiber, copra, copra cake, coconut oil, paring cake, paring oil, and other residual products, thus consolidating its strengths in the creation of an integrated coconut processing plant.
Today, the PPPC operates the largest single production facility of desiccated coconut in the world, with a rated capacity of 22,000 metric tons per year.
Quimson said the PPPC remains committed to the utilization of its core competencies as a premier producer of desiccated coconut, and the enhancement of its other coconut-based products such as virgin coconut oil, coconut flour/ fiber, coconut milk and cream and other specialty products.
Peter Paul's products are seen in all major markets such as North and South America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, and maintains a substantial share in each of these markets.
President Aquino inaugurates newly constructed by-pass road
LUCENA CITY: President Benigno S. Aquino III led on Monday the inauguration of a by-pass road in Candelaria, Quezon which is designed to ease the traffic congestion and boost tourism in Quezon province.
After the ceremonial drive-through on the newly completed project, the President was briefed by Rep. Irvin Alcala on the salient features of the road project. The by-pass road is one of the two projects of Rep Alcala.
The recently completed 7.5 kilometer road is a spacious gateway to Quezon province, which also has four bridges.
In his speech in Lucena City after inaugurating the road project, the President said 40 percent of the traffic in Maharlika highway will be diverted to the by-pass road, easing traffic congestion in that portion of Candelaria.
"Kaya nung tinitingnan ko yung kalsada, siguradong makakatulong na mabawasan yung trapik dito sa papuntang Quezon at talaga naman pong masasabi nating medyo may pagbabago na po maski umpisa pa lang po yan," the President said.
The chief executive said his administration has been continuously paying attention to Quezon province in building new infrastructures. For instance, he said that in 2011, Quezon's Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) had P1.19 billion budget. In 2012, it became P1.43 billion and in 2013 the administration raised the budget to P2.4 billion, he added.
If the government could save more money and Quezon province officials spend their budget wisely, the President promised to support additional projects in the province by raising more allocation.
"Pag buo ang tiwala n'yo, may hiningi, makatwiran yung hinihingi, naitutulak natin na mas paspasan yan at puwede na tayong pumunta sa ibang problema," the President said.
Local Candelaria leaders expect that the new road will also boost eco-tourism because of the faster and convenient travel time particularly in the second district of Quezon. The wider and more comfortable roads will also boost Candelaria's growing commercial, residential and recreational areas.