Farmers say no to privatization of coco levy fund

Mar. 20, 2015

Coconut farmers from Southern Tagalog region condemned today the government’s plan to privatize the coco levy fund.

President Benigno Aquino III has signed Executive Orders 179 and 180 on Wednesday to pave the way for the privatization of the funds.

EO 179 lays down the guidelines for the inventory and privatization of coco levy assets while EO 180 provides administrative guidelines for the reconveyance and utilization of the coco levy assets “for the benefit of the coconut farmers, the development of the coconut industry, and for other purposes.”

Farmers, who are members of claimant’s movement Coco Levy Funds Ibalik sa Amin-Southern Tagalog (CLAIM-ST), warned government to keep its hands off the coco levy fund.

“The primary beneficiaries of the coco levy fund should be coconut farmers and not the private sector and businesses who want to take a piece from the coco levy pie,” said CLAIM-ST spokesperson Nestor Villanueva.

Villanueva said  they will not allow the use of coco levy funds as “private presidential pork barrel” fund for 2016.

Villanueva said they are supporting House Bill 1327 or the proposed creation of the “Genuine Small Coconut Farmers’ Fund” filed by Anakpawis Partylist wherein small coconut farmers will be the primary beneficiaries of the fund. The  benefits would be “in the form of social benefits including but not limited to pension benefits, medical and hospitalization benefits, maternity benefits, and education assistance including scholarships”.

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