ZAMBOANGA CITY – Gov. Jim S. Hataman reported that 800 hectares of rubber trees in Basilan are infected with a plant disease known as Pestalotiopsis.
In an emergency meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 17, with rubber industry stakeholders, Dr. Jill Villanueva of the Philippine Rubber Research Institute said the disease affected rubber areas in Lamitan City, Tipo-Tipo, Menzi, Santa Clara, and Ubit.
Pestalotiopsis, caused by the fungus Pestalotiopsis microspora, causes leaf fall and the eventual death of the rubber plant.
Protocols and preventive measures have been implemented to arrest the spread of the disease. Information is continuously being disseminated to rubber farmers for the treatment of rubber plants.
Basilan is one of the country’s major suppliers of rubber and some 50,000 hectares are devoted to rubber plantations.
From 2012 to 2016, Basilan suffered from ‘’cocolisap’’ infestation, the infestation of coconut trees by coconut scale insects locally known as cocolisap.