The Department of Agriculture (DA) recommended that coconut, locally known as buko, be used as an energy drink for the 2019 Palarong Pambansa, and the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.
DA Sec. Manny Piñol confirmed on Monday, April 15, that Department of Education (DepEd) Sec. Leonor Briones approved the request for buko water to be designated as the official energy drink for the 2019 Palarong Pambansa which will be held from April 27 to May 4 in Davao City
Piñol added that he assured Briones that the DA will extend a Php 5 million loan so that coconut farmers can have enough supply of green coconuts, which will be sold to the estimated 20,000 participants and spectators during the week-long sports event.
The Agriculture secretary also revealed that SEA Games Organizing Chairman Alan Peter Cayetano welcomed the proposal to showcase coconut products, including buko juice, in the 2019 SEA Games which will be hosted by the Philippines from Dec. 11 to Nov. 30.
Piñol said that Philippine Sports Commission Chairman William “Butch” Ramirez has also endorsed the proposal from the coconut farmers group led by Laureano Callao Jr.
In an interview with DZRH, Piñol explained that their efforts to have coconut products in the upcoming sports events in the Philippines seeks to increase the public’s awareness on the importance of buko, particularly as a health drink, and to help local farmers.
According to the DA head, coconut growers in Mindanao will benefit from having buko water as the official drink from this year’s Palarong Pambansa while farmers in Luzon will profit from the 30th SEA Games.
“This will be the first time that an indigenous health drink, like coconut water, will be introduced in an international sports event,” Piñol said on having buko juice as a health drink in the SEA Games.