TAGBILARAN CITY – Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Romualdez Marcos, Jr., the name-sake of former President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos, has paid attention to whatever proposals from the farmers affected for the “proper use of Php74 billion coco levy fund for the benefit and the development of the country’s coconut industry.” And he assured farmers from the different places of the Visayas islands who assembled in this city for consultation of this (proper use of the said fund).
Jun Ordinario, federation president of the Small Coconut Farmers Organization of Bohol, told DYTR that almost 700 farmers coming from regions 6, 7 and 8 in the Visayas cluster came in droves to attend the said consultation to make their demand that the illegal transfer of coco levy fund to national treasury heard.
Bohol’s SCFO is an organization-member of the Confederation Coconut Farmers Organizations of the Philippines (CONFED).
“If you allow me, I volunteer to help you towards the realization of your vision to improve the coconut industry and to ensure the fund that grew through your hard work will not be misused,” Marcos said.
He said in his speech at the jampacked Bohol Cultural Center yesterday that his coming to Bohol is to listen the farmers’ sentiments and gather proposals on what to do with the coco levy fund’s proper use for the benefit of the industry.
“Marcos said the proper and prudent use of levy funds would benefit, not only the small farmers but the entire country as well, citing the January 24, 2012 ruling of the Supreme Court declaring that the coco levy funds are owned by the government to be used only for the benefit of all coconut farmers and for the development of the coconut industry.”
He said by using the coco levy funds properly, the country’s coconut industry can be “price giver,” dictating the price of the product in the international market, instead of being a mere price taker.”
CONFED has urged the Senate to enact a law constituting the coconut levy funds and assets into a Coconut Industry Trust Fund (CITF) and “providing and administrative structure to manage the trust funds and ensure that its use will benefit the coco industry and the coco farmers.”
It will be recalled that the Supreme Court en banc has issued a temporary resraining order (TRO) barring the Aquino government, as respondents, who are “enjoined from implementing Executive Order Nos. 179 and 180, series of 2015, and from using, disbursing and disposing the subject coconut levy assets and funds.”
The TRO issuance docketed G. R. No. 217965 was dated June 30, 2015 and signed by Enriqueta E. Vidal, Clerk of Court.
Confederation of Coconut Farmers Organizations of the Philippines is the complainant.
Named respondents were Pres. Benigno Simeon A. Aquino III, Acting Commissioner Richard Roger Amurao of the Presidential Commission on Good Gvoernment; chairman Cesar I. Villanueva of the Governance Commission for Government Owned-and-controlled corporations (GOCCs); and Sec. Leila M. De Lima of the Department of Justice (DOJ). (rvo)