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PRRD  urges Congress to  pass coconut farmers trust fund law

March 14, 2021 Uncategorized

QUEZON CITY, July 28 (PIA) — President Rodrigo R. Duterte urged  Congress to pass a law  establishing the Coconut Farmers Trust Fund  for the welfare of farmers and  development of the coconut industry.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his 5th State of the Nation Address at the House of Representatives Complex in Quezon City on July 27, 2020. PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

He  stressed  the importance of the agricultural sector  during the 2020 State of the Nation Address (SONA) yesterday. 

The President also mentioned that billions of money from the coconut  levy fund would be returned to the farmers. 

“Itong perang malaking ito ay gagamitin na ito  for the welfare of the farmers,” he emphasised, instructing directly the Congress to sort out how best the money could be utilized. 

“I will not make any suggestion but I leave it to Congress to decide what to do with it,” he said.

It would be remembered that  Duterte  vetoed the coco levy fund bill in 2019 opposing the return of the money to the farmers due to unconstitutionality as stated in his letter to the House of Representatives.

He initially opined that the previous version of the bill may benefit wealthy coconut farmer owners more than smallholder farmers.  

The coco levy refers to the taxes imposed on coconut farmers from 1971 to 1983  during the time of Ferdinand Marcos which collection was estimatedly reached to  the amount of P9.7 billion.

“Tulungan natin ang ating  mga magsasaka, pagka hindi,  mawawala yung pera bilyon iyan,” he said.

Meanwhile, he also requested Congress to pass a rural agricultural and fisheries development financing system.

“We aim to provide adequate accessible and affordable food for every Filipino through the ‘Plant, Plant Plant program,” he added.

He said the recommended agricultural  program is easier to achieve. “It is more of how you try to convince the farmers  to cooperate with the government for their benefit,” he urged. 

In his final remarks, he hoped that the  66 bilion agricultural stimulus package will help agricultural and fishery sector to recover from the losses due to pandemic. (ARR/PIA-IDPD)

 

 

source https://pia.gov.ph/news/articles/1048751

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