LOOK: Caterpillars infest South Cotabato village

Francis Canlas, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 18 2017 01:06 AM | Updated as of Jan 18 2017 09:53 PM

A slug caterpillar infestation was declared in Barangay Linan in Tupi. Photo courtesy of Tupi Agriculture Office

A severe caterpillar infestation has prompted a village in Tupi, South Cotabato to declare a state of calamity.

Coconut farmers in the village of Linan are now worried over their livelihood as slug caterpillars locally known as "Pagi-pagi" have eaten away at hundreds of coconut trees.

Tupi Municipal Agriculturist Danilo De Guzman said around 200 hectares have been infested and more than 200 farmers are affected.

De Guzman estimated the damage from the infestation at around P3.9 million. 

Authorities are now spraying pesticide on coconut trees in the area to combat the infestation. However, De Guzman said that it may take up to 2 years before the coconut trees recover.

De Guzman said the recent El Niño may have triggered the infestation.