By Tracy Cabrera
File photo of outgoing president Rodrigo Roa Duterte signing the Coco Levy Act that would benefit some 3.5 million local farmers and spur development in the coconut industry. (Photo: OneNews.PH)
MANILA — Before ending his term as the country’s chief executive, outgoing president Rodrigo Duterte has finally given cause to look into the plight of local farmers by issuing an executive order that will pave the way for the government to finally tap the multibillion-peso coco levy fund to revive and modernize the country’s coconut industry.
Just weeks before he steps down as president, Duterte signed Executive Order (EO) No. 172, or the Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Plan (CFIDP), to serve as basis in using the PhP75-billion coco levy fund through various programs and projects.
Under the former Davao City mayor’s directive, the CFIDP, which is to be reviewed annually, will trigger efforts “to increase overall productivity and income of coconut farmers, alleviate poverty and achieve the twin objectives of rehabilitating and modernizing the coconut industry to attain social equity.”
It also mandates the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) and other concerned agencies to implement the plan, which will be updated every five years, subject to the incoming president’s approval.
Funds for implementing the coconut industry blueprint will be taken from the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund (CFITF) as stipulated under Republic Act No. 11524, a piece of legislation signed by Mr. Duterte in February last year creating the fund using the recovered coco levy assets. ai / mtvn