House panel approves bill reforming coconut trade

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The House Committee on Agriculture and Food has approved a substitute bill promoting the steady, accelerated, and orderly development of the coconut industry consistent with the agrarian reform policy of the government.

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The substitute bill aims to revitalize the coconut industry primarily by equipping the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) with a “solid and multifaceted mandate, which focuses on developmental, governmental, regulatory, research and development, and corporate powers and functions.”

By approving the substitute bill, the committee chaired by Rep. Mark Llandro Mendoza (4th District, Batangas) removes the corporate restriction of PCA to make the agency profitable, sustainable and development-oriented.

The still unnumbered measure replaced House Bill 1998 authored by Rep. Sharon Garin (AAMBIS OWA party-list) and House Bill 1705 by Rep. Victoria Noel (AnWaray party-list), both seeking to revitalize the coconut industry.

Garin said the reorganization of PCA also allows for more representation from the farmers, processors, traders, researches, scientists and academe comprising seven board seats out of the 11 board seats.

Moreover, since coconut is a long-gestating crop, it is also prudent to fix the term of the administrator of PCA to ensure the full implementation of the policies and programs of the agency. Hence, this measure fixes the term of the administrator to six years.

To implement the policy and objectives of this Act, Garin said the measure creates and establishes a non-stock, government corporate entity known as the Philippine Coconut Industry Development Authority.

PNA

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