Alabat Island: First Makapuno Island in the PH 

Community News & Features Mar 9, 2018 at 4:26 pm

AlabatBy Myrrh Caithlin L. Gutierrez

A lot can be done when people work hand-in-hand.

Different government agencies converged and collaborated to establish the first Makapuno Island in the Philippines. On February 16, 2018, the Makapuno Island project was launched in Alabat Island, Quezon. “This project is not just a government project, but a project of the people.” says Dir. Alexander Madrigal, Regional Director of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-CALABARZON).

Since 2009, DOST-CALABARZON and the Southern Tagalog Consortium for Industry and Energy Research and Development (STCIERD) has been collaborating for the revitalization of Makapuno industry in CALABARZON. After numerous planning and workshop, the idea of a Makapuno Island was formed. Through the efforts of the DOST-CALABARZON, Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA IV-A), Department of Agriculture (DA-IVA), Southern Luzon State University (SLSU) and the Local Government Units of Alabat, Perez, and Quezon with support from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI-IVA), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE IV-A), National Irrigation Association (NIA IV-A), Office of the Provincial Agriculturist-Quezon, and the Office of Congresswoman Angelina Tan, the Makapuno Island project was kick-started. The launching ceremony was made more exceptional by the presence of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce (PCC-Toronto), and the Trade Mission Delegates from Canada who assessed the investment opportunities in Alabat Island.

Senior Trade Commissioner Ma. Roseni Alvero (4th from right) with partner agenciy and PCCT representatives.

Senior Trade Commissioner Ma. Roseni Alvero (4th from right) with partner agenciy and PCCT representatives.

The Makapuno Island Project aims to establish a Makapuno Island in Alabat Island, Quezon by initially putting up a 110 hectares of Makapuno plantation that would address poverty in the island by giving the farmers additional earnings, and significantly contributing to the island economy. The different government agencies will continuously join hands to support the island with Embryo Cultured Makapuno (ECM) seedlings and processing technologies. Also included in their plans is working on the island’s branding to be known not only as a main source of Makapuno but also Coco Sugar. To optimize the resources of the island, they are also looking on the potentials of integrated farming.

The project yielded positive support from the partner agencies. The efforts of the government agencies and the potential of Alabat Island was seen by the Trade Mission Delegates. Asec. Maria Roseni M. Alvero, Senior Trade Commissioner and Phil. Consulate General of DTI- Foreign Trade Service Corps. (DTI-FTSC) Toronto Canada, presented her intentions of making Makapuno Island a model investment project wherein Overseas Filipinos can invest in their homeland’s businesses. Her proposed project entitled “Transforming Overseas Filipinos (OFs) to Overseas Filipino Investors (OFIs): The Philippine Makapuno Industry and Agribusiness Investment Promotion Program in Alabat Island, Quezon” aims to launch a well-coordinated, harmonized and sufficiently funded export and investment campaign targeting the Filipinos living abroad. By August 2018, the project will be launched in Toronto, Canada.

Ms. Vermelyn O. Evangelista, Technical Supervisor of PCRDF, assured the beneficiaries that the PCRDF will continuously extend their Research and Development of ECM. She also discussed about the processing technologies that the island can later use for their Makapuno products. Meanwhile, Ms. Erlene Manojar, Regional Manager of PCA IV-A declared PCA’s support by assuring the beneficiaries that “from production, processing, up to marketing, PCA will provide the help Alabat Island will be needing”.

Mayor Fernando L. Mesa, mayor of the Municipality of Alabat, delivered the island’s positive response by thanking all the agencies that made the Makapuno Island possible. He assured everyone that they will work hand-in-hand for the progress of the Island.

Memorandum of Agreement signing of partner agencies.

Memorandum of Agreement signing of partner agencies.

The program concluded with a MOA signing of the partner government agencies, a commitment board signing of the Adopt-a-Makapuno Tree project, and declaration of support from the different participating agencies.

After the program proper, a ceremonial planting of Makapuno seedlings was held at Brgy. Villa Jesus Weste. Mr. Rolando Mesa and Mr. Rene Mesa, coconut farmers, gave their testimonies about makapuno farming and how Embryo-Cultured Makapuno (ECM) can be of great help to the island economy.

Also present in the event are Dir. Marilou Toledo, Regional Director of Department of Trade and Industry IV-A (DTI-IV-A), Engr. Arnel De Mesa, Regional Executive Director of Department of Agriculture-CALABARZON (DA-CALABARZON), Mr. Milo Placino, President of Southern Luzon State University (SLSU), Mr. Kim Darren Pabilonia, representative of the Regional Director of Department of Labor and Employment IV-A (DOLE IV-A) Mayor Ma. Carida Clacio and Mayor Pepito Reyes, mayors of Perez and Quezon respectively, and over 100 farmer beneficiaries from Alabat Island.

(DOST- Region 4A, S&T Media Service)