Grace defends Danding on coco levy
The government and not businessman Danding Cojuangco Jr., should be blamed for the delay in deploying the multibillion-peso coconut levy fund for the benefit of farmers, according to Senators Grace Poe and Francis “Chiz” Escudero.
In a press conference in Candelaria, Quezon, Poe said she herself was getting impatient that coconut farmers have yet to benefit from the coco levy funds more than four decades after they paid the forced tax.
“But the problem is that Danding Cojuangco doesn’t control it anymore because all the shares (bought with the coco levy funds) are now with the government,” said Poe.
She said the coco levy funds should have been immediately given to the farmers after the Supreme Court made a final ruling on the coco levy assets in 2012, specifically that of the disputed San Miguel Corp. shares, 31 percent should go to the government and 20 percent to Cojuangco.
“But the government had other ideas on how to deploy the coco levy funds which explains why it hasn’t been distributed to the rightful beneficiaries,” she said.
In March 2015, President Aquino issued Executive Orders No. 179 and 180 privatizing the coco levy funds, but the EOs were was suspended by the Supreme Court.
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