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Davao City, Philippines

Bong Go welcomes Senate approval of measure recognizing Davao City as the cacao capital of the Philippines; hopeful for the country to be a key regional player in the global cacao industry.

March 09, 2021 - Tuesday 12:03 PM by MDM

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Senator Christopher “Bong” Go lauded the Senate approval of a measure formally making Davao City the cacao capital of the Philippines. The bill also seeks to further enhance the productivity of the Philippine cacao industry by recognizing the status of Davao as the country’s biggest producer of cacao.

“Maraming salamat po sa ating mga fellow senators sa kanilang suportang ipinakita sa panukalang batas na ito na layuning kilalanin ang Davao City bilang Cacao and Chocolate Capital ng bansa,” Go said.

Senate Bill No. 1741, or “An Act Declaring the City of Davao as the Cacao and Chocolate Capital of the Philippines”, hurdled the third and final reading in the Senate on Monday, March 8. 

This measure was sponsored by Senator Cynthia Villar, Chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture. Go also co-authored the measure. 

“Magsisilbing inspirasyon po ito sa ating mga cacao producers at farmers na patuloy na magsikap upang mapalago ang industriya na ito na hindi lamang nagbibigay ng karangalan sa Davao, maging sa buong bansa,” he added.

In her sponsorship speech, Senator Villar indicated that roughly 78.76% of annual production of cacao in the Philippines comes from the Davao region composed of Davao del Sur, Davao City, Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental, Davao de Oro and Davao Occidental. 

Go, for his part, recognized the cacao farmers of Davao, saying “Dahil po iyan sa ating mga masisipag na cacao farmers. Nagpunta rin po si Secretary William Dar kamakailan lang para i-recognize ang Davao City as the Cacao Capital of the Philippines dahil kami ang top producer ng cacao.”

He added that as a Davaoeño, he is very proud that Davao City will be declared as the Cacao and Chocolate Capital of the Philippines under the proposed measure.

“Marami na rin pong nakamit na awards ang ating mga cacao producers from Davao mula sa iba’t ibang award-giving bodies sa buong mundo,” Go said in a speech back in October 5 of last year during a public hearing.

“Highly sought-after ng chocolate makers from the United States, Japan and Europe ang ating mga cacao beans. I am beaming with pride over these accolades by our very own Filipino farmers, nakaka-proud maging Davaoeño at Pilipino,” he added.

Aside from SBN 1741, the Senator, during the public hearing in October 2019 also gave his support for SBN 899, a bill introduced by Senator Lito Lapid, which shall create a cacao research and development center.

The center, if created, shall serve as the lead agency for managing the cacao industry. It will also educate and train local farmers as well as create or strengthen linkages with international organizations and other cacao development centers in other countries. 

Meanwhile, Go expressed hope that the proposed measures would help the country’s cacao farmers as well as facilitate the development and further growth of the cacao industry.

He, then, encouraged government to take advantage of the rising global demand for cacao, a typically underserved commodity, to make the Philippines one of the top producers of quality cacao in the world.  

He also urged the Department of Agriculture to fulfill its promise to produce 100,000 metric tons of cacao beans by 2022 which will position the Philippines as a key regional player in the global cacao industry. 

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