PH Cacao Industry Council opposes bill making Davao chocolate, cacao capital

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THE Philippine Cacao industry Council (PCIC), the official voice of the Philippine cacao industry, has expressed strong opposition on the proposal to declare Davao City as the chocolate and cacao capital of the Philippines and granting it technical, financial, marketing and other incentives to the exclusion of all other regions in the country.

Senate Bill 1741, an act declaring the city of Davao as the cacao and chocolate capital of the Philippines, was filed on July 27, 2020 by Sen. Cynthia Villar and Ronald dela Rosa.

PCIC national chairperson Consul Armi Lopez-Garcia said the bill “discriminates and disadvantages” all other regions in the country which are responding to the government’s call to develop their own cacao industry.

“Favoring Davao City alone subverts the national policy to develop the Philippine cacao industry.” Garcia said. “The PCIC instead endorses the promotion of Philippine cacao and Philippine chocolate.”

The PCIC is a government mandated organization composed of the government and private sector to carry the official voice of the country’s cacao industry.

In a position paper submitted to the Senate, the PCIC manifested that the factual basis of the bill is faulty. It noted that Davao City is not the single biggest planter of cacao in the country and that it contributes only four percent of the country’s total cacao production.

Moreover, Davao City is not the biggest producer of chocolate products in the country. The biggest artisan chocolate maker in the country, Auro Chocolate, is based in Laguna in southern Luzon. The biggest producer of tableya or chocolate tablets is Guiling’s Tableya, which is based in Cebu. The chocolate production of Davao City is nowhere near the volume of Cebu, the PCIC said.

PCIC vice chairpersons representing the three island regions, namely Sylvia Ordonez for Luzon, Buen Mondejar for the Visayas and Christopher Lindo for Mindanao, also expressed their strong opposition to the bill in a recent meeting convened by the Department of Trade and Industry.

Only Davao Region, to which Davao City belongs, has not taken an official stand. However, some provinces within Davao Region itself have expressed their opposition, saying passing the bill will benefit only Davao City. / PR