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THE PRESIDENTIAL Adviser on Food Security expressed dismay over the Supreme Court's Tuesday stay order against the plan to tally and privatize assets bought with a levy collected by President Ferdinand E. Marcos from coconut farmers, saying it prolonged the sector's battle to benefit from the taxation.

The Supreme Court issued on Tuesday the indefinite temporary restraining order (TRO) halting the implementation of Executive Orders (EO) No. 179 and 180, at the request of the Confederation of Coconut Farmers of the Philippines (CCFOP), which said farmers were deprived of due process and that the government was only supposed to oversee the trust ownership of what was declared public funds.

In a statement, Mr. Pangilinan said that while the government respects the issuance of the indefinite temporary 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," he said. "It is most unfortunate that some parties have stubbornly continued to oppose the use of the funds to the detriment of the beneficiaries, the aging coconut farmers."

"The unending legal disputes and the prolonging of the same are part of the problem," he added.

Mr. Pangilinan also railed against the opposition, saying EOs 179 and 180 -- which paved the way for the "inventory and privatization" and the "reconveyance and utilization" of the assets, respectively -- was meant to ensure the levy funds were being "used judiciously."

"We cannot be suing each other forever and by doing so, the reforms we seek will be further delayed," Mr. Pangilinan said. "We need to move forward and getting the fund out of the way of legal disputes is a necessary first step. A step that unfortunately with this latest development has yet to be taken."


By Vince Alvic A. F. Nonato

Thursday, July 2, 2015
Presidential Adviser, Farmers Express Dismay over Order Against Gov't Plan to Use Coco Levy Assets