Typhoon-felled coconut palms go into housing

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MONTHS after the massive devastation brought by typhoons in Mindanao, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has now adopted a program by the Philippine government, which aims make use of millions of felled coconut trees for housing projects.

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Dubbed as “chainsaw massacre,” the project aims to provide livelihood to hundreds of farmer-beneficiaries in Davao del Sur and Compostela Valley through cash for work program.

“But unlike the gruesome chainsaw massacre movies, the object of the program were millions of felled coconut trees that can be sawn into coco lumber to be used by the local governments and the town folks for housing and rebuilding,” Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) Administrator Euclides Forbes said.

Under the program, Forbes said that they have distributed to the farmer-beneficiaries all confiscated chainsaws from illegal cutters of coco lumber.

At present, some 150 chainsaws were now operational, providing much needed mechanical power to cut down felled trees that is barring free passage of relief operations, the PCA chief added.

“Initially funded by the PCA, the daily salaries of operators and the expenses for fuel have been shouldered since May 1, 2013 by the UNDP,” Forbes said.

Two persons operate each chainsaw for eleven days at P300 a day each.

For its part, the provincial government of Davao del Sur is now in charge of the safekeeping and maintenance of the chainsaws.

Gov. Cora Malanyaon of Davao del Sur said that, the coco lumber produced will be used for building 20,000 housing units.

He also asked that the PCA allow her province to borrow and transfer its heavy-duty machineries in Zamboanga Research Center to her province for said housing projects.

Forbes said he has already approved the transfer of the machineries, as a token of gratitude to Davao del Sur for being the top coconut-growing province in the country through the years.

“In a few days we will also release P10-million worth of muscardine fungus to combat rhinoceros beetles in Davao and Compostela,” he added.

Rhinoceros beetles eat the young coconut trees being replanted, if not controlled.

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