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MAASIN CITY, Mar. 4 (PIA) -- Efforts are now underway to make the province a base of research and development (R and D) on anything pertaining to the coconut industry, and the hub of operations is to be centered in this city.

And playing a crucial role to make this happen would be a constant, close coordination with the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), to be paralleled with the establishment of an economic zone somewhere in barangay Guadalupe, a coastal village, due to its nearness to the airport and seaport.

The emerging site of the Southern Leyte State University – Maasin City campus (SLSU-MCC) in barangay Tam-is will also play an important part, as a laboratory in the creation of various coconut-based products, said Cong. Roger Mercado, the prime mover behind the idea.

“I will get in touch with PCA, for we will make Southern Leyte a hub for research and development for coconut, specific on coconut only,” Cong. Mercado said in a casual chat with local media.

“This will be supported by an eco-zone, so that whatever products (developed out of R and D) will be industrialized via the eco-zone,” the lone district lawmaker added.

The huge undertaking would have to go through a lot of technical work, feasibility study, long-term planning, and may take years to realize, but the overall direction remains the same, and that is to make the province a center, a hub, for coconut R and D, Mercado explained.

Meanwhile, on the 499th First Mass celebration in Limasawa town at the end of this month, Mercado said he planned to invite as guests cabinet secretaries involved in his TEA program - - Tourism, Environment, and Agriculture. (mmp/PIA8-Southern Leyte)