Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos: Release coco levy now
Senatorial candidate Imee Marcos expressed concern that coconut farmers might sink deeper into poverty because copra prices had rendered their main source of livelihood more untenable.
“Our farmers cannot live decent lives anymore,” Marcos, also Ilocos Norte governor, said in a statement.
She urged the government to release the P180-billion coco levy fund to rescue farmers.
“Farmers have been waiting for so long,” she said.
“They should not be made to wait any further,” said Marcos, whose father initiated the collection of levy from coconut farmers and producers.
President Rodrigo Duterte vetoed a measure passed by Congress to strengthen the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) because it does not put into full use coco levy funds for poor farmers.
Marcos said the measure “should have provided for the payment of loans.”
PCA data showed that farm gate price of copra had decreased by almost 60 percent from P38.70 per kilogram in 2017 to P15.52 per kg last year.
In Quezon province, peasant group Kilusan Para sa Tunay na Repormang Agraryo at Katarungang Panlipunan likened Mr. Duterte’s veto of the coco levy fund measure to a “tokhang” operation in the government’s bloody war on drugs. —REPORTS FROM MARLON RAMOS AND DELFIN T. MALLARI JR.
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