Duterte shows off certificate of law to aid farmers handed to him by Villar

Duterte shows off certificate of law to aid farmers handed to him by Villar

By Ernie Reyes

MANILA — President Rodrigo Roa Duterte shows the Certificate of
Republic Act 11524 or the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund Act
handed to him by Sen. Cynthia A. Villar at the Quezon Convention
Center in Lucena City, Quezon province.

The President was in Lucena City for the joint National Task
Force-Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict IV-A
(NTF-ELAC) meeting.

The copy of the law handed by Villar was then passed by the President
to Philippine Coconut Administrator (PCA) Benjamin Madrigal Jr.

Villar, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food,
has remained thankful to the President for the passage of the law that
would be a big push to reach our goal of uplifting the lives of 3.5
million Filipino coconut farmers from 68 coconut-producing provinces.

“The coconut trust fund belongs to our coconut farmers and their
families. With the provision of scholarships for our coconut farmers and
their children, an annual allocation of 8% and 10% for health and
medical programs on top of Philhealth coverage, I am confident this
will improve the quality of lives of our coconut farmers,” said
Villar.

Continuous education and improving one’s knowledge of new
technology on production and post-production of coconut, Villar said,
is also supported under the law, with an allocation of 8% of the
budget that would be implemented by government agencies for training.

With the Coconut Industry Trust Fund Act, Villar also hopes to
resolve the many issues blocking the full growth of the coconut
industry.

“Aside from alleviation of poverty, the Coconut Industry Trust Fund
Act, along with the Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Plan,
can provide the direction for the government to achieve increased
incomes, and social equality for our farmer,” noted Villar.

Under the law, the Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Plan will
be crafted by the PCA. It stated that the plan will “set the
directions and policies for the development and rehabilitation of the
coconut industry within 50 years.”

The law mandates the Bureau of Treasury to infuse P10 billion to the
trust fund in the first year, P10 billion in the second year, P15
billion in the third year, P15 billion in the fourth year; and P25
billion during the fifth year.

Some P5 billion from the trust fund will be used upon enactment of the
law for programs such as:
1.Planting and replanting of hybrid coconut seedlings to increase
harvest by PCA and DOST.
2.Intercropping with cacao (20%),coffee and diary under coconut tree
to increase income by DA (10%).
3.Processing equipment for value adding by Philmech (10%).
4.Organized of coconut farmers into cooperatives for economies of
scale by CDA (5%).
5.Marketing by DTi (5%)
6.Infrastructure in coconut producing LGUS by DPWH (10%).
7.Cheap credit by Landbank and DBP (10%).
8.Crop Income (4%) in addition to previously mentioned health
(10%),college scholarship (8%) and training (8%).

The government started collecting the coco levy funds from coconut
farmers in 1971 through levies, taxes, charges and other fees imposed
with the sale of copra rececada. Aside from coconut farmers, the funds
were collected from millers, refiners, processors, exporters and copra
end-users.

In 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that the coco levy funds were
publicly-owned, prompting the government to craft ways on how to
develop the coconut industry using the multi-billion assets. (ai/mtvn)

Inline image

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte shows the copy of Republic Act
11524 or the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund Act that he
received from Senator Cynthia A. Villar before handing it over to
Philippine Coconut Administrator Benjamin Madrigal Jr. during the
joint National Task Force-Regional Task Force to End Local Communist
Armed Conflict IV-A meeting at the Quezon Convention Center in Lucena
City, Quezon on October 21, 2021.

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