Pangilinan to expedite passage of bill on coco industry dev’t | Inquirer News

Pangilinan to expedite passage of bill on coco industry dev’t

/ 04:04 PM July 21, 2016

Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan on Thursday vowed to expedite the passage of a bill proposing a complete accounting and inventory of an estimated P73 billion in coco levy assets for the development of the coconut industry.

Pangilinan has refiled the bill known as the Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Act of 2016 in preparation for the opening of the 17th Congress on Monday, July 25.

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“Now that we have been entrusted to, once again, assume a seat in the Senate, we will personally make sure to expedite the deliberation and passage of this measure. Our coconut farmers have been waiting for this for more than 40 years,” he said in a statement.

“There is no reason to not deliberate upon the coco levy. We must immediately face the issue so that the coconut farmers, who have contributed a portion of their earnings since the Martial Law era, will finally benefit,” said Pangilinan, who helped craft the bill during his stint as Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization.

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The bill, he said, was based on a draft coconut industry poverty reduction road map focusing on coconut enterprise development prepared by the National Anti-Poverty Commission alongside coconut farmers.

 

READ: Pangilinan warns against coco levy funds release

“There are several more profitable produce of the coconut aside from copra such as the virgin coconut oil, coco sugar, coco coir, coco water, among others with very high demands. If the industry will be made robust, it will significantly increase the income of our coconut farmers),” the senator said.

The bill proposes a complete accounting and inventory of the coco levy assets and its conversion into a perpetual trust fund that will be used for the development of the coconut industry without using the principal.

A Coconut Farmers and Industry Fund Committee will also be formed, under the bill, to implement the development plan, composing of coconut farmers’ representatives, the Agriculture and Finance Secretaries, the Director-General of the National Economic and Development Authority, and the Administrator of the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA).

A similar measure was certified urgent by President Benigno Aquino III during the last Congress but it  failed  to get approval at the Senate. CDG/rga

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TAGS: coco levy, coconut farmers, Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Act of 2016, Coconut industry, Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan
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