DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Internal problems at the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) will not affect the coco levy fund.
This was the assurance made by PCA Director Roque Quimpanduring a press conference held at the Kapehan sa Dabaw at SM City on Monday.
“The coco levy fund is being taken cared by a governing board of the PCA,” Quimpan said, adding that the agency is also waiting for the enactment of a law that will create a trust fund for the coconut industry in the country.
He said that Senate Bill 1233 was already filed by Senator Francis Pangilinan for the creation of the coconut farmers and industry trust fund.
They are still awaiting the version in the House of Representative, he added.
“We will see to it that the coconut farmers will be prioritized in the trust fund. The coco levy fund must benefit them,” he added.
Last month, the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and the group Coco Levy Fund Ibalik sa Amin (CLAIM) urged the PCA not to compromise the return of coco levy fund to farmers amidst the existing row inside the agency.
PCA chief Avelino Andal was accused of corruption for allegedly extorting P1.50 per board foot of trees being cut in the provinces of Quezon, Mindoro, Basilan, and Marinduque.
The Governing Board of PCA already approved Resolution No. 027-2017 last month that imposed a preventive suspension on Andal.
“We need a solid assurance from the Duterte government that the coco levy fund is intact, secured and safeguarded and will be returned to coconut farmers,” said CLAIM convenor Jonathan Moico in a statement to the media last March.
Moico added that coconut farmers do not know about politics and individual interests within the PCA governing board, adding: “All we want is to make clear our position that no entity should dip its hands into the P75-billion coco levy fund.”
Quimpan also told the media here that the investigation on PCA chief Andal is already progressing as the board already heard the side of the complainants.
“The next step would be to facilitate the face-off between PCA chief Andal and the complainants,” he said. (davaotoday.com)