Press Release
September 2, 2016

Bam: Fast-track passage of coco levy bill

Sen. Bam Aquino urged fellow lawmakers to fast-track the passage of the Coco Levy Trust Fund Act so that three million farmers and their families can finally enjoy the fruits of their labor after decades of waiting.

"Marami sa atin, naghihintay na noong 16th Congress pa lang. We almost passed it, nabitin lang sa dulo," said Sen. Bam during the hearing of the Committee on Agriculture and Food

"Let's pass it as fast as we can," added Sen. Bam, author of Senate Bill No. 669 or the Coconut Farmers' Trust Fund Act, which seeks to creation of a trust fund from the coco levy fund to develop the coconut industry and alleviate lives of coconut farmers and their families.

In the 16th Congress, Sen. Bam filed Senate Bill No. 2467 but the Senate failed to pass it and other similar measures due to four contentious issues.

"Marami po sa atin, naghihintay na noong 16th Congress pa lang," said Sen. Bam.

Sen. Bam suggested that lawmakers focus on four unsettled issues in the bill so that the measure will be passed at the soonest possible time.

He pinpointed the four contentious issues to be the privatization of the 30 billion pesos, the composition of the trust fund members, where the fund should be invested, and how the budget should be spent.

"More or less, iyong apat na iyon ang kailangan nilang pag-usapan. I personally feel this should have been passed already," added Sen. Bam.

Senate Bill No. 669 aims to create a Coconut Levy Trust Fund from the P75-billion Coco Levy Fund to spur the growth of the industry for the benefit of small coconut farmers and workers all over the country.

The proposal includes the financing of programs for the increased productivity

of coconut farms, capacity building of farmers, research and development of

coconut-based enterprises, and implementation of poverty-alleviation programs.

"The priority is our coconut farmers and their families. The goal is to give them sustainable livelihood by rehabilitating and revitalizing the industry," said Sen. Bam.

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