President Rodrigo Duterte approved a law making his hometown Davao City the “chocolate capital” of the Philippines.
The law also named Davao Region as the country’s “cacao capital,” according to a document Malacañang released on Thursday.
The government “recognizes the importance of cacao as a driver of rural development” because of its potential as a raw material that “can increase the country’s export earnings tremendously, and put the name of the country in the map for producing the finest chocolate beans,” Duterte said in Republic Act 11547.
Cacao “provided livelihood to many small farmers in the countryside,” he added. Duterte signed the law on May 27.
“In recognition of its status as the country’s biggest producer of cacao and its vital contribution in making the Philippines world-renowned and sought after by chocolate makers from the US, Japan, and Europe, the City of Davao is hereby declared as the Chocolate Capital of the Philippines and the entire Region XI (Davao Region) as the Cacao Capital of the Philippines,” Duterte said.
Davao declared as Chocolate Capital of the Philippines
In March, Senator Cynthia Villar, head of the Committee on Agriculture, Food and Agrarian Reform, filed Senate Bill 1741, which states that “the measure seeks to recognize Davao as the country’s biggest producer of cacao and its vital contribution in making the Philippines world-renowned and sought-after by chocolate makers from the United States, Japan, and Europe.”
Villar cited Philippine Statistics Authority data saying about 78.76 percent of the annual production of cacao in the country is from the Davao Region. It is composed of Davao del Sur, Davao City, Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental, Davao de Oro, and Davao Occidental.
There are also over 20,000 hectares of cacao farms in Region XI, and Davao City has the largest area.
Villar added that Davao City is home to award-winning chocolate, the Malagos Chocolate. It was also one of the 16 heirloom cacaos in the world by the Heirloom Cacao Preservation Fund.
Duterte is the first President from Mindanao to hold office. He served as the mayor of Davao for a long time.