Palace’s call for patience, an insult to small coconut farmers – group

THE militant peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and the newly-formed claimants movement Coco Levy Funds Ibalik sa Amin (CLAIM) today described as “an insult to small coconut farmers” Malacanang’s call to “be patient” warning that the coco levy fund issue could be “a social volcano waiting to erupt.”

The KMP and CLAIM issued the statement after deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte called on coconut farmers to “be patient” and that “the presidential task force on the coco levy was still finalizing its recommendations to the President concerning custody and utilization of the funds.”

“Malacanang’s call for patience smacks of insult and perpetuates the injustice inflicted against coconut farmers. Aquino wants us to be deaf and blind while plunder and anti-peasant schemes by the presidential task force happens in broad daylight,” KMP deputy secretary general Willy Marbella said.

The farmers groups said the Presidential Task Force on the Coco Levy Funds is pushing for the P11.17 billion five-year “Poverty Reduction Roadmap of the Coconut Industry” that includes the scandalous “Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps)” and the “bogus” Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).”

“President Aquino’s uncle, Danding Cojuangco, controlled and feasted over the coco levy funds for more than four decades. And now that the money is in the hands of the Aquino administration they are asking us to be patient?” Marbella asked adding: “Aquino and his multiple mouthpieces are the most talkative and deceptive people in the country on almost all issues since the start of this administration. But, with Aquino’s deafening silence on the coco levy funds also since Day One, we have all the reason to fear that our money will be plundered again.”

Marbella, also CLAIM spokesperson, said that “small coconut farmers have already spoken and they want their money back.”

“Small coconut farmers want their money back and have rejected the anti-peasant schemes of the presidential task force,” Marbella said warning: “The coco levy fund issue can make and unmake presidents. We can already hear the rumblings of this social volcano waiting to erupt.”

“We call on the Filipino people to closely keep an eye on Aquino and his task force’s maneuvers on the coco levy funds. The Aquino administration is going to use our money against ourselves, for its anti-people and anti-peasant programs,” Marbella said.

The KMP reiterated calls for the immediate cash distribution of the coco levy funds to small coconut farmers and the enactment of House Bill 3443 or the proposed Coconut Levy Funds Administration and Management Act filed by Anakpawis party-list Representative Rafael Mariano which seeks to establish a council composed of coconut farmers themselves.

“The only assurance that the money will go back to small coconut farmers is to ensure that the funds would be administered and managed by small coconut farmers themselves, and not through corrupt government agencies like the NAPC, DA, and DSWD,” says Marbella.

The peasant leader said “it is high-time that small coconut farmers, the legitimate owners, to benefit from the coco levy funds.”

“We demand the distribution of cash to small coconut farmers. The coco levy funds were forcibly exacted from us by Marcos and Aquino’s uncle Danding. We are not incidental beneficiaries here, the government must return what was plundered from us,” Marbella said.

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