MANILA ---- The House of Representatives (HOR) on Monday, December 14, approved on third and final reading the bill seeking the creation of a trust fund for the coconut farmers.
Voting 221-6-0, the lower chamber passed House Bill No. 8136, or the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund Act, a bill that would boost the coconut industry, enhance farm productivity, and uphold the interest of the coconut farmers. The bill provides for the utilization of the trust fund for the following activities: shared facilities program, farm improvement, development of hybrid coconut seed farms and nurseries, empowerment of coconut farmer organizations and their cooperatives, scholarship program, health and medical program, credit provision, infrastructure development, training of farmers in farm schools, and other activities to help coconut farmers and develop the coconut industry to its full potential.
“This is definitely good news to our coconut farmers and a boost to our coconut industry. We consider this an early Christmas gift from our President and our legislators to our coconut farmers,” Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) Administrator Benjamin Madrigal, Jr. said.
“PCA Management and the Governing Board strongly support and laud the vigorous effort by both houses of Congress and the current administration to finally pass this bill into law, after so many decades of waiting,” Madrigal added.
Under the proposed law, a trust fund shall be maintained and an initial allocation of ₱5B will be made available for the first year upon passage of the law and thereafter, until it is fully utilized or its purpose fulfilled, and shall be used exclusively for the benefit of the coconut farmers and the development of the coconut industry.
Since August, PCA has been hosting regional and provincial coconut industry stakeholders’ fora to make coconut farmers and industry stakeholders direct and active participants in the crafting of their respective regional and provincial coconut industry development plans. “The coconut industry stakeholders’ fora serve as a venue for information dissemination, coordination, and consultation. Through these, we are able to ask our stakeholders their requirements for consideration or inclusion in the would-be proposed program for the coco levy fund,” Madrigal said.