Coco farmers: Levy funds should not be included in trust assets | Inquirer News

Coco farmers: Levy funds should not be included in trust assets

/ 05:44 PM March 14, 2016

The Confederation of Coconut Farmers’ Organization of the Philippines (CCFOP) on Monday maintained that the coco levy funds should not be included in trust assets by the government.

In a statement, CCFOP chair Ka Efren Villaseñor said the government’s move of including the coco levy in a trust fund “is  a complete abandonment of government’s duties as trustee of the coco levy assets whose clear intention was not merely the benefit of the coconut farmers but the development of the coconut industry, a process that required, inter alia, an agribank for the farmers and the financial needs of the industry.”

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He said Senator Grace Poe’s refusal to co-author a pending bill seeking to put the multi-billion peso fund into a trust fund is a welcome move for the coconut farmers and the coconut industry.

“We therefore welcome the pro-farmer, pro-industry stand of Senator Grace. This sincere position should be communicated to all the coconut farmers and workers nationwide. The draft bills in Congress, which quite fortunately did not become law, were mere clones of the assailed executive orders and therefore we had to oppose them too. We look forward to a truly pro-farmer and pro-industry dispensation after the May election,” Villaseñor said.

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The CCFOP is the group that petitioned the Supreme Court to restrain President Benigno Aquino III from implementing Executive Orders (EOs) 179 and 180.

READ: Coco farmers ask Supreme Court to block Aquino EOs on levy funds

EO 179 requires the (1) inventory and privatization and (2) reconveyance and in favor of the government of all coconut levy assets, including but not limited to the shares of stock in the United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB), Coconut Industry Investment Fund (CIIF) Companies and CIIF Holding Companies as well as the 5,500,000 San Miguel Corp. (SMC) shares registered in the name of the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG).

Meanwhile, EO180 ordered the immediate transfer and reconveyance of the coconut levy assets to the government and use it for the Integrated Coconut Industry Roadmap and the Roadmap for Coco Levy.

Last year, the Supreme Court already stopped the implementation of the two EOs.

READ: SC stops 2 Aquino EOs on managing coco levy funds

The Supreme Court already ruled that the coco levy funds were public funds in two decisions (Republic vs Sandiganbayan First Division and Eduardo Cojuangco Jr. in April 2011 and Cocofed vs Republic in January 2012).

The funds were also subject to a writ of execution of the Sandigabayan’s first division that originally had jurisdiction over the coco levy controversy. RAM

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TAGS: CCFOP, coco levy, Confederation of Coconut Farmers’ Organization of the Philippines, Government, trust assets
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