Law needed to release coco levy funds – DOF

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A new law is needed for the government to unlock over P74 billion in coconut levy funds for the benefit of coconut farmers and their families, the head of the Duterte administration’s economic team said on Monday.

In a statement, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd said President Rodrigo Duterte would push for new legislation as soon as the Supreme Court lifts a temporary restraining order (TRO) on the fund.

Dominguez said a law was needed so the money could be used by farmers in coconut-producing areas for projects such as support programs and scholarships for their dependents.

Because the fund is with the national treasury, it cannot be spent without congressional approval, he pointed out.


“Supporting scholarships, supporting better farming methods, maybe supporting the new intercropping methods as well as new coconut varieties should be done, but I think this should be done by legislation,” he said.

The Finance chief said the matter was discussed in a recent Cabinet meeting, and the President expressed his preference for the money to be used for the exclusive benefit of coconut farmers and their families.

“We have discussed that at the Cabinet, and, you know, it’s quite a complicated issue, but we are going to make sure that the funds in the national treasury . . . will be used exclusively for the benefit of the coconut farmers,” Dominguez said.

The coco levy fund, which was collected from coconut farmers during the Marcos administration, has been locked up in legal cases for years over ownership issues.

“Now, we cannot say which particular coconut farmers [will benefit]because this thing happened 40 years ago. So the use of the funds will be dedicated to the areas where coconut is a major part of the economy,” Dominguez said.

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  1. My brothers, sister and I were supposedly free of our colleges and universities studies. Every time my father would deliver the copra, the smoked coconut meat, to the market, he would always tell us that he contributed to the educational fund of the sons and daughters of coconut producers. So, each one of my siblings had been hoping that our college education was already paid off when we finished our high school, only to finally find out we were not for an unknown reason. I just don’t know how many of us sons and daughters of coconut farmers, might be hundred of thousands if not millions of scholars of coconut farmers were abandoned by the government during Marcos time. When we found that educational program for the sons and daughters of coconut farmers was not functioning anymore, therein our days had turned to dark and our hope for a better tomorrow had turned too obscured and hopeless. My parents, my siblings had to think in tightening our belt, squeeze what had been already squeezed to pursue our studies; whereas the Marcoses and their cronies were living on high, above on earth. This is why I can not forget the Marcos time for frustration they brought in to the nation. I hope the new government can do help the sons and daughters of the coconut farmers as the priority measure to be given attention for that funds that were hidden or stolen from our hard labor.