Senate OKs bill creating coconut trust fund
The Senate approved on third reading on Monday a new bill that would create a trust fund to help coconut farmers, a year after the President vetoed a similar measure for lack of certain safeguards. The new bill, approved in the Senate in a 22-0 vote, provides for the creation of the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund that would be used to help farmers and develop the coconut industry. Sen. Cynthia Villar, the main proponent of the bill as chair of the agriculture committee, said she hoped the bill would elevate coconut farmers to middle class status as soon as possible. Under the bill, the government would have to sell P75 billion worth of coconut levy assets in the next five years to create a trust fund for some 3.5 million coconut farmers. —Leila B. Salaverria
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