MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte has approved a law that declares his hometown Davao City as the "chocolate capital" of the Philippines, and 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 in the law that he signed 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.
The Senate passed the bill in March, and the House of Representatives adopted the measure in the same month.
Duterte is the first President from Mindanao. Before taking office, he was a longtime mayor of Davao City.
In 2019, Davao City alone produced some 2,289.74 metric tons (MT) of cacao or 38 percent in regional share, the agriculture department said in September.
Together with Davao del Sur, Davao del Norte, Davao de Oro, Davao Occidental and Davao Oriental, the total contribution to the national output reached 5,960.23 MT or 70.21 percent, the agency said.
Cacao beans are a major component of chocolate. Davao's quality cacao is also known globally.