QUEZON CITY--- “I am always willing to have a dialogue and peaceful talk with the coco farmers particularly on the release coco levy fund. Whether I am in my office or not, we will always have a representative ready to accommodate and hear their woes”, said Admin. Andal.

Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) Administrator Billy Andal said his office is always open to peaceful talk with coconut farmers regarding the release of coco levy fund.

He also expressed his openness to have a dialogue with coco farmers anytime and hoped that this will be the first and the last rally during his administration.

“Hindi po totoo na kakamkamin ko ang coco levy fund. Bagkus sisiguraduhin po natin na maibibigay sa mga magsasaka ang nararapat na para sa kanila. Nasa bagong administrasyon na po tayo. Bagong pamahalaan. Titiyakin ko po na tunay na pagbabago ang mangyayari sa buhay ng ating mga coco farmers,” said Andal.

Coco farmers from Quezon, Bicol and Visayas led by a claimant’s group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas at ng Coco Levy Funds Ibalik Sa Amin o CLAIM picketed the PCA today and warned the agency to keep its hands off the coco levy fund.

“The control and management of the Coco Levy Fund, as well as its utilization should be decided by farmers, the moral and rightful beneficiaries and owners of the coco levy fund and assets,” explained CLAIM-Masbate coordinator Toto Ramos.

Coco farmers under CLAIM are standing by their position for the release of the coco levy fund through cash and social benefits. Their immediate issue now is the return of the coco levy fund to coco farmers.

But PCA Deputy Administrator Roel Rosales explained to the claimant’s group that monetizing the coco levy fund is not possible because the Supreme Court has already the ruling.

“There is a pending Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) issued by the Supreme Court, which orders government from releasing or disbursing the coco levy fund. Akala po kasi ng iba na nasa amin ang pondo, wala po sa amin,” explained Rosales.

“Ang kaya po naming gawin ngayon ay tulungan ang mga coco farmer pagdating sa production. Lumapit po sila sa amin para maging part sila ng Kaanib Development Project at bibigyan po namin sila ng mga produkto na pwedeng itanim o hayop na aalagaan. Ito po ay makakatulong sa kanila na pwede nilang gawing pangka-buhayan. Pero hindi po kami makapagbibigay ng pera dahil ang PCA po mismo ay walang pondo,” added Rosales.

Rosales assured the rallying coconut farmers that the PCA’s project will be mostly beneficial to the farmers and coconut industry in the entire country.



December 10, 2016