Farmers ask gov’t not to compromise return of coco levy fund amidst PCA row
Peasant groups Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and Coco Levy Fund Ibalik sa Amin (CLAIM) have called on the leadership of Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) not to compromise the return of coco levy fund to farmers amidst the existing row at the agency.
PCA chief Avelino Andal is presently 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 passed Resolution No. 027-2017 last week imposing preventive suspension on Andal pending investigation over the alleged corruption.
“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 convener Jonathan Moico in a statement on Tuesday.
Moico pointed out that the coconut farmers “do not know about politics and individual interests” within the PCA governing board.
“All we want is to make clear our position that no entity should dip its hands on the PHP75 billion coco levy fund,” he stressed, adding that many parties are interested on the multibillion fund.
“The farmers’ organizations have expressed positions asserting that the coco levy fund should be returned to coconut farmers and rejected efforts of some quarters pushing for the privatization of the coco levy fund,” Moico said.
He added that farmers’ groups reached an agreement for the declaration of the coco levy fund as a Genuine Small Coconut Farmers Trust Fund and the creation of a Small Coconut Farmers Council that will manage the fund.
The groups said they will continue their strong nationwide efforts to demand the return of the coco fund. (PNA)