Press Release
February 18, 2019

Villar vows to prioritize law allowing coconut farmers to benefit from coco levy funds

If re-elected, Sen. Cynthia Villar vowed to prioritize again the enactment of a law that will finally allow 3.5 million coconut farmers and their beneficiaries to directly benefit from the P100 billion coconut levy fund.

In a recent visit to Laguna, a coconut-producing province, Villar said she is saddened that President Rodrigo Duterte vetoed Senate Bill 1233 or the Coconut Farmers and Industry Act, but said she trusts the president's action and expressed willingness to work with him to improve the bill.

"Huwag po kayong malungkot. Makakaasa ang mga coconut farmers na as soon as I go back to Congress in July, we will refile the bill," Villar said.

"Sisiguraduhin na natin na papasa ito at pipirmahan ng president. Made-delay lang ng one year but we will do it," she added.

Villar also enumerated the merits of the bill which will create the coconut levy trust fund and will provide P5 billion a year for the next 25 years for programs that will directly benefit the coconut farmers and their beneficiaries such as scholarship, health and medical programs, empowerment of coconut farmers organization and their cooperatives and farm improvement and shared facilities program to encourage self-sufficiency.

This is in addition to the P10 billion funding from the General Appropriations Act which will fund programs for the development of the coconut industry such as infrastructure, planting, replanting and establishment of nurseries, intercropping, shared facilities, research and development, disease control, treatment and eradication, fertilization, new products and derivatives of coconut oil products and credit through LandBank and Development Bank of the Philippines.

Villar said this law is a priority bill "because we want to take care of coconut farmers, who, together with rice farmers, make up 90 percent of the farmers in the Philippines."

"Kapag napaganda natin ang buhay ng mga coconut farmers and rice farmers, napaganda na natin ang buhay ng nakakarami sa ating mga magsasaka," Villar said.

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