Solon to PNoy and ‘coco mafia’: Stop dipping your hands into the coco levy funds

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ANAKPAWIS Rep. Rafael V. Mariano supported thousands of coconut farmers as they demand the Aquino government to distribute the multibillion coco levy fund to small coconut farmers.

“The coco levy funds rightfully belong to coconut farmers. The Aquino administration must drop its immoral claim and stop dipping its hands into the coco levy funds,” stressed Mariano who said that the Aquino government is using the Presidential Task Force on Coco Levy to control and manage the coco levy funds now valued at P70 billion.

“The Presidential Task Force on Coco Levy under the supervision of National Anti-Poverty Commission Chair Joel Rocamora must be abolished. The said task force is pushing for the P11. 17-billion ‘Poverty Reduction Roadmap of the Coconut Industry’  program to access the coco levy funds and use it for Aquino’s anti-farmer programs including the conditional cash transfer (CCT), Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino program (4Ps) and the bogus Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms,” said Mariano.

“Control and management of the coco levy funds must be given directly to coconut farmers. Actual cash distribution also necessary to give justice the beneficiaries who have waited for decades to benefit from their hard toil,” said Mariano.

Mariano authored House Bill 3443 or the proposed Coconut Levy Funds Administration and Management Act which seeks to establish a council composed of coconut farmers. The solon clarified that HB 3443 is different from the NAPC’s Poverty Roadmap in the Coco Industry.

“The Aquino government, through NAPC will definitely squander and use the coco levy funds for its own interests. Coco farmers nationwide must remain vigilant and safeguard the funds. We know PNoy and Mr. Rocamora too well.”

“The proceeds from the recovered fund must be given to farmers in cash,” said the Anakpawis solon.

According to Coco Levy Funds Ibalik sa Amin (CLAIM), an alliance of coco levy claimants, during a dialogue with Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) early this month, the commission said the Php56.5 billion from the 27 percent from San Miguel Corp. is deposited in escrow by the PCGG at the Bureau of Treasury (BTr).  The Php13.5 billion dividend earning is with the United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB) deposited as special drawing account (SDA) and earning 3.5% to 3.6% interest.

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