January 26, 2012
KIKO ON SC RULING ON COCO LEVY: BETTER LATE THAN NEVER
Chairman of the Senate Committees on Agriculture and Food, and Rural Justice and Social Development, Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan, commends the Supreme Court's upholding of a ruling of the government's re-conveyance of the 24 percent block of shares in San Miguel Corp. (SMC) acquired through coconut levy funds and registered in the names of the Coconut Industry Investment Fund (CIIF) and its holding companies. He adds that while he would have wanted the entire amount of the coconut levy to go to the coconut farmers, said amount will still be a big boost to the industry.
"The next challenge would be to come up with a system that would ensure that the freed-up coco levy would go to their rightful beneficiaries. We are now studying the crafting of legislation that would ensure the proper implementation of disbursement."
Pangilinan says that the coco levy fund is needed for replanting that will improve the yield of coconuts and give the industry a much-needed boost.
The Philippine Coconut Authority reports that while the country's coconut industry contributes 59 percent to the world's total export of coconut products, most of the trees are aging and dying, unable to produce quality nuts.
"We must end decades of injustice by ensuring that the funds are plowed back to programs that will raise the incomes of our coconut farmers and improve their profitability."
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