Basilan under state of calamity due to Pestalotiopsis attack

THE Sangguniang Panlalawigan holds a special session on Monday, Jan. 23, to declare a state of calamity in Basilan due to Pestalotiopsis infestation. (Basilan provincial government photo)

ZAMBOANGA CITY – The province of Basilan was placed under a state of calamity due to the Pestalotiopsis disease affecting rubber plants.

The Sangguniang Panlalawigan held a special session on Monday, Jan. 23, to declare the state of calamity based on the recommendation of the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council chaired by Gov. Jim Salliman.

Provincial agriculturist Dr. Surhayda Aguisanda said 90 percent of rubber plantations in Basilan are infected with Pestalotiopsis, affecting some 16,000 rubber tappers.

Infected rubber trees were located in Isabela and Lamitan cities and nine out of the 11 municipalities.

Basilan had been adopting certain measures to arrest the spread of the disease prior to the declaration of the state of calamity.

Pestalotiopsis causes leaf fall and the death of the rubber plant due to the fungus Pestalotiopsis microspora.