To provide the administrative guidelines 'for the inventory and privatization of coco levy assets', President Benigno Aquino signed Executive Order (EO) No. 179 on Wednesday, March 18. On the same day, he also signed EO No. 180 that sets the administrative guidelines 'for the reconveyance and utilization of coco levy assets for the benefit of the coconut farmers and the development of the coconut industry, and for other purposes'.
Consistent with longstanding statute, viz. Presidential Decree No. 1468, series 1978, the two (2) EOs reiterate the mandate of the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) to promote the rapid integrated development and growth of the coconut industryand, with the supervision of Office of the Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization (OPAFSAM) headed by Secretary Francis N. Pangilinan,shall ensure the judicious, efficient and transparent utilization of the coco levy assets.
As defined in theOrders, coco levy assets shall refer to the money, assets or properties, whether real or personal, tangible or intangible, wherever situated, arising from or otherwise funded by or acquired through the use or by means of any of the coconut levies or the coco levy funds, directly or indirectly, including but not limited to shares, rights, and interests, whether vested, contingent, expectant, choate or inchoate, and any and all fruits, income, interest, or profits derived from these assets including those acquired in exchange or substitution thereof.
EO 179 directs the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG),with the assistance of the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), to submit a certified report to the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr), the Commission on Audit (COA) and the Office of the President, identifying and accounting for all known Coco Levy Assets, within sixty (60) days from its effectivity.
To guarantee that the privatization of the coco levy would serve the best interest of the government, the Governance Commission for GOCCs (GCG), in consultation with the Department of Finance (DOF), OPAFSAM and the PCA shall take into account the need to generate maximum cash recovery and the implications of such divestment on the coconut industry.
Meanwhile, the disposition and utilization of these assets, as stipulated in both Orders, shall be guided by the following objectives:
Improving coconut farm productivity, developing coconut-based enterprises, and increasing the income of coconut farmers;
Strengthening coconut farmers' organizations; and
Attaining a balanced, equitable, integrated, and sustainable growth, rehabilitation and development of the coconut industry.
Under EO 180, the PCA, in coordination with the OPAFSAM, is directed to develop and submit the Roadmap for Coconut Levy Utilization, for the approval of the President.
The Roadmap which was prepared by the OPAFSAM and PCA, in consultation with the coconut farmers, farm workers and other key stakeholders, is geared towards achieving the above-mentioned objectives.
The initial funding for the Roadmap, which shall be released upon its approval by the President, shall be sourced from the money and funds constituting the coconut levy and coco levy assets, the EO stated.
The PCA shall formulate the implementing rules and regulations as may be required to ensure the fulfillment of its mandate and the purposes of the EO.Likewise, EO 180 mandates other government agencies to extend assistance to the PCA as may be necessary for the successful implementation of the Order.