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Coco Levy Fund Hearing

The Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food conducted a Public Hearing on S.B. 455 (Recto), S.B.2467 (Aquino IV), S.B. 2126 (Villar), Petition for Indirect Initiative (Kilos Magniniyog), and S.R. 30 (Recto) on the “ Coconut Farmers and Industry Fund” on Monday, December 15, 2014, at 9:00 A.M. at the Senate of the Philippines Committee Rooms 2 & 3.

Senator Cynthia A.Villar, Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food and Senator Ralph G. Recto, author of one of bills and a senate resolution, dialoged with the various resource persons towards the resolutions of the following issues, these are:

  • Trust fund as a perpetual fund or its total utilization

  • Trust principal to be invested in government bonds only

  • Chairmanship and composition of the trust fund committee

  • Crafting, coverage and restriction of the coconut industry plan

The coconut farmers groups who are present are: Mr. Eduardo Mora of the Pambansang Kaisahan ng mga Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (PKMP); Mr. Jose Marie Faustino, Executive Director , Coconut Industry Reform Movement (COIR) and Representative Kilos Magniniyog; Mr. Rene Cerella, National President, Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka (PAKISAMA); Mr. Rafael Mariano, National Chairperson, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP); Mr. Nestor Villanueva, National Chairman, Coco Levy Funds Ibalik sa Amin (CLAIM); Mr. Bert Autor, President Bicol Coconut Planters Association, Inc. (BICPAI).

Resource persons from government and coco levy companies who came were:

Chairman Andres Bautista of the Presidential and Commissioner Richard Amurao, Commission on Good Government; Undersecretary Jazmin Banal of the Office of the Presidential Assistant on Food Security and Agricultural Modernization; Administrator Romulo Arancon, Jr. of the Philippine Coconut Authority; Chairperson Jose Eliseo Rocamora of the National Anti-Poverty Commission and Director Dominic Mariano of the Bureau of Treasury.

Other resource persons are Toni Angeli Coo OIC of the Privatization and Management Office, DOF; Atty. Christian Castillo, Legal Counsel of the Governance Commission of Government Owned and Controlled Corporations; Mr. Nhedem Amiel Sarne Division Chief of NEDA; State Counsel Rosalie Cumla, DOJ;

Mr. Jose Alfonso Poblete, President and CEO of Coconut Industry Investment Fund- Oil Mills Group; Atty. Alfredo Tumacder, Jr. President of COCOLIFE; and Atty. Ildefonso Jimenez, Corporate Secretary, United Coconut Planters Bank.

From the academe and the industry, the following are present- Mr. Benigno Peczon, Ph.D., President, Coalition of Agriculture Modernization of the Philippines, (CAMP); Ms. Gloria Castro, Adviser, National Alliance of Coco Industry Scholars (NACS); Mr. Edwin Erni, President, Save the Coconut Foundation, Inc. (SCFI); among others.

A technical working group will be constituted to draft the content of the substitute senate bill from January 5-15, 2014. All those present were asked to submit their position paper before January 5, 2015.

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