PRESIDENTIAL assistant for food security and agricultural modernization Francis Pangilinan said Wednesday opposing the use of the coco levy fund is an unimaginative way of confronting the coco levy issue.
Pangilinan made the statement, following the Supreme Court's decision to stop the implementation of two executive orders directing the privatization and reconveyance or transfer of P73.4 billion in coconut levy funds to the government.
President Benigno Aquino III earlier issued EO 179, which ordered the inventory and privatization and reconveyance or transfer to the government of all coconut levy assets.
EO 179 also required that all money and funds constituting the coconut levy, or accruing from the coco levy assets, be deposited into a special account in the general fund for coco levies.
EO 180 orders the immediate transfer of the coconut levy assets to the government so it could use them after the approval by President Aquino of the Integrated Coconut Industry Roadmap and the Coconut Roadmap for Coco Levy.
The Supreme Court earlier issued a temporary restraining order against the two orders.
While we will respect the decision to issue the restraining order, we hope the matter can be resolved with dispatch. For nearly four decades the coco levy fund has been entangled in legal disputes and this latest case has prolonged the dispute further, Pangilinan said.
Opposing the use of the funds has been the mantra for the last 40 years and a number of critics have failed to reinvent themselves, refused to take risks and look for out-of-the-box solutions to address the plight of our coconut farmers, he added.
Pangilinan said EOs 179 and 180 were meant to ensure that the coco levy funds would be used judiciously.
By Anna Leah E. Gonzales
THURSDAY: JULY 2, 2015