Belgian govt’s plan vs PHL’s coconut oil hit

LEADERS of the militant Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) and the umbrella group Save Laguna Lake Movement (SLLM) on Sunday slammed the 27-member countries of the European Union (EU) after a report said the Belgian government, which the current president of EU, is planning to stop importation of coconut oil from the Philippines in connection with the scrapping of the P 18.7-billion Laguna Lake dredging project.

In a joint press statement, Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap and SLLM convener Pedro Gonzalez said the Belgian government is pressuring the Aquino administration to approve the controversial dredging project in its present form.

They said the failure on the part of President Aquino will compel the Belgian government to stop sourcing coconut oil from the Philippines.

Belgium is the biggest importer of Philippine coconut oil, according to the United Coconut Associations in the Philippines (UCAP) Inc.

According to UCAP, the coconut oil industry became the first casualty of the decision of President Aquino to junk the P 18.7 B Laguna Lake dredging project.

It said the decision might push the Belgian government to stop importing coconut oil from the Philippines, and that will spoil the momentum of this industry which is expected to reach 3 million metric tons in total exportation for 2010 which is 12 percent higher last year.

“Frankly my dear we don’t give a damn if Belgian government desists and ceases from importing coconut oil. It is their loss not ours. We can have our coconut oil and explore this agriculture product for the benefit of 94 million Filipinos,” Hicap and Gonzalez argued.

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