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Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Secretary Emmanuel Piñol renewed an appeal to President Rodrigo Duterte to lift the Marcos-era ban on export of mature coconuts and issue a special permit for Mindanao exporters.

The MinDa chief said Presidential Decree (PD) No. 1106 should be lifted to immediately help coconut farmers affected by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Issued in 1985 by former President Ferdinand Marcos, PD 1106 banned exports of mature and dehusked coconuts.

“We are re-submitting our recommendation to the President, noting that if we want to restart the economy, we can directly focus on our coconut farmers who are actually among sectors affected by the pandemic,” Piñol said in a statement.

“Since there is a standing order for the green and brown and young coconuts outside of the country, let’s work on that as we appeal that Mindanao be given special permit.”

After taking his oath as chairman of MinDA in August last year, Piñol requested the lifting of PD 1106 through Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, noting the action would mostly benefit coconut farmers in Mindanao.

Piñol said unless the ban is lifted, the country’s coconut farmers–who he said are reeling from effects of low copra prices due to the influx of other alternative cooking oils–would not be able to take advantage of the mature coconut market.

In November 2018, the Philippine Coconut Authority’s Governing Board, chaired by Piñol who was then Secretary of the Department of Agriculture, approved a resolution that would request the interagency committee on Executive Order 1016 series of 1985 to lift the ban on mature coconut exports.

EO 1016 mandated the creation of an interagency committee which will annually update the list of prohibited products for export being implemented by the Bureau of Customs.

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