Villar to refile vetoed coco levy fund bill ‘within the year’
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Cynthia Villar will “refile” and ensure the passage of the vetoed coco levy fund bill “within the year” if she gets reelected to the Senate in the coming May elections.
Speaking to reporters after Hugpong ng Pagbabago’s (HNP) campaign rally in Las Piñas City on Wednesday, Villar, principal author of the bill, said that this time she will talk to President Duterte to ensure the swift passage of the measure.
“We will refile it as soon as we come back to Congress…this time it will not be vetoed, mag-uusap na kami ng masinsinan (ni Presidente) kung ano ba ‘yung reason for the veto (I will talk to the President about his reasons for the veto),” Villar said.
In his veto message last Feb. 14, Duterte explained that the proposed trust fund for coconut farmers is prone to corruption due to lack of “vital safeguards.”.He also said that the bill “may be violative of the Constitution.”
However, Villar argued that corruption will depend on the implementation of the law.
“Ang corruption will depend on who will implement (the law). Kahit na maganda ‘yung batas, kapag loko loko talaga ‘yung magiimplement there will be corruption (Even if the law is good, there could be corruption depending on the people who would implement it),” the senator said.
“We will see to it as much as possible wag mapunta sa corruption, kami po ang oversight niyan (We will see to it that the fund will not be lost to corruption. We will provide the oversight),” she added.
The bill is seeking to provide better farmer representation in the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) board by allowing six farmer-representatives to join four from the government and one from the coconut industry.
The bill is also seeking to change the composition of the PCA, which is mandated to manage the P100-billion trust fund for coconut farmers. /ee
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