House okays Coco trust fund

GOOD news for coconut farmers and their families.

The House of Representatives yesterday approved on third and final reading House Bill 9197 or the measure that establishes the Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Trust Fund or “Trust Fund”

With a vote of 159 affirmative and five negative, the bill mandates that the coconut trust fund shall be used exclusively for the ultimate benefit of coconut farmers and the development of the coconut industry.

The bill is principally authored by former President and now Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Committee on Agriculture and Food Chairman Rep. Jose Panganiban Jr.,CPA,LLB (Party-list, ANAC IP).

The bill intends to address the serious problems besetting the coconut industry, protect the socio-economic well-being of coconut farmers, and ensure that the benefits due them, especially the poor and the marginalized, under various statutes shall be consolidated and their delivery expedited.

Any measure or program undertaken in accordance to the Act shall be deemed complementary to and shall not be a replacement for existing and potential coconut development programs already conducted by other agencies.

The initial capital of the Trust Fund shall come from all assets and/or properties derived from coconut levy recovered assets and all dividends, interest earnings, and incomes that are available upon the effectivity of the Act.

The Trust Fund shall thereafter be augmented with all the proceeds of privatization/disposition of the coconut levy assets remitted directly thereto by the Privatization Management Office (PMO), including all forms of income, interests, earnings, yields, or any monetary benefit derived from prior to the privatization/disposition of these coconut levy assets.

The Trust Fund shall be maintained for a period of 30 years or until the fund is fully utilized. No portion of the Trust Fund shall be derived from the General Fund of the National Government. Any unutilized balance in the Trust Fund after 30 years shall revert to the General Fund of the National Government, and shall be capitalized, managed, utilized, and accounted for in the manner provided in the Act.