Senator Christopher “Bong” Go today expressed his support for the bills creating the Cacao Research and Development Center (CRDC) and declaring Davao City as Cacao and Chocolate Capital of the Philippines.
“I am here to express my support for the two bills which are on the agenda for today’s hearing. I laud the distinguished Madame Chair (woman Cynthia A. Villar) for hearing the said bills which are vital to the Philippine Cacao Industry,” he said in manifesting support for Senate Bill (SB) 1741 seeking to recognize Davao City as the Cacao and Chocolate Capital of the Philippines, and SB 899 creating the Cacao Research and Development Center, during the Committee on Agriculture, Food and Agrarian Reform hearing presided by Villar.
Noting the awards received by local farmers and an increase in the global demand for cacao, Go, a native of Davao City, also said that this is an opportune time for the country to enhance the cacao industry to help generate jobs for the unemployed Filipinos.
“I am beaming with pride over these accolades received by our very own Filipino farmers,” he said.
“The government estimated that the global demand for cacao will reach up to five million metric tons this year. Our country’s local supply is around 15,000 metric tons while our consumption is 50,000 metric tons annually. Thus, it is an opportune time for our country to enhance the cacao industry as there is an increase in the global demand for cacao,” Go pointed out..
Go stressed that the Philippines should take advantage of this rise for it would help generate jobs for the unemployed.
According to Go, Davao City is number one in the whole of Davao Region when it comes to cacao production with 2,289 metric tons produced last year.
“Davao region’s combined cacao production comprises 78.96 percent of the country’s total production of 8,488.60 metric tons last year. Hindi lang po sa production ng cacao nangunguna ang Davao City. Marami na rin pong nakamit na awards ang ating mga cacao producers from Davao mula sa iba’t ibang award-giving bodies sa buong mundo,’’ he said. (Davao City is not only number one in the production of cacao. Cacao producers from Davao have also received several awards from the different award giving bodies in the world) . Highly sought after ng (of) chocolate makers from the US, Japan and Europe ang ating mga (our) cacao beans.)
He said the bill authored by Sen. Manuel “Lito” Lapid, which seeks the creation of a cacao research and development center would be very helpful in educating and training our farmers.
“It will also further help create or strengthen linkages with international organizations and other cacao development centers in other countries. With this specialized center for cacao research and development, magkakaroon na po ng isang ahensya na nakatutok sa concerns ng mga farmers natin sa cacao industry (… an agency, which focuses on the concerns of the farmers in the cacao industry, will be established),” Go added .
“At maalala ko po, noong mayor pa si Pangulong Duterte ay pumupunta po siya sa bukid para mamigay ng mga—para magtanim rin sila ng cacao. Panahon pa yun ng DA Undersecretary ang ating Secretary of Tourism na si Secretary Berna (Romulo). Parati ko na pong naririnig ang cacao industry sa Davao, at full support po ang ating mahal na Pangulo dito (And I can also recall, when President Duterte was then a mayor, he used to go to the farm to distribute—to plant cacao. That was the time of DA Undersecretary and now Secretary of Tourism Bernadette [Romulo-Puyat}, From then on, I am always hearing about the cacao industry in Davao, and this is fully supported by our beloved President),” Go added.
“For these reasons, I fully support the proposed measures which are for the benefit of our cacao industry. Makakapagbigay po ito ng tulong sa ating mga farmers at mas mapapaunlad nito ang ating booming na cacao industry. Pangarap ko na maging one of the top producers of quality cacao ang Pilipinas,’’he said. (This will help our farmers and will boost our booming cacao industry. It is my vision that the Philippines will become one of the top producers of quality cacao, we should take advantage of the fact that the global demand for cacao is increasing annually, it is an underserved commodity. I urge the Department of Agriculture to make good on its promise to produce 100,000 metric tons of cacao by 2022 which will position the Philippines as a regional key player in the cacao industry.)