The bicameral conference committee on the bill creating the P100-billion coconut levy trust fund has reconciled the disagreeing provisions on the versions of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Senator Cynthia Villar, chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food and head of the Senate panel, said the bicameral conference committee on the disagreeing provisions of Senate Bill 1233 and House Bill 5745 or the Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Act agreed adopted a reconciled version of the bill which they will now submit for ratification by both houses of Congress.
“Today marks the end of the long and grueling journey of enacting a law which will ensure the full utilization of the coco levy funds. This symbolizes a new beginning for all our 3.5 million coconut farmers and their families,” Villar said.
“This will serve as a foundation of our future in our continued quest for sustainable development, poverty alleviation, and food security. Our farmers have long waited for the moment where they could enjoy the funds which are rightfully theirs,” she added.
The Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Act was among the priority legislative measures pushed by President Rodrigo Duterte during his State of the Nation Address on July 23.
The Nacionalista Party Senator said the bill “includes provisions that would safeguard the approximately P100 billion coconut levy funds composed of cash and assets and ensure increased income for all coconut farmers such as investment of the trust fund in Philippine government securities to ensure the safety of the fund and for assured returns.”
The fund will be managed by the reconstituted Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) which will be composed of one representative from the PCA, Department of Finance, Department of Agriculture, Department of Budget and Management; one coconut industry stakeholder; and 6 coconut farmers with two representatives each from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.