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
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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
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A government official on Wednesday urged critics to stop opposing the use of the coconut-levy funds.
Office of the Presidential Assistant on Food Security and Agricultural Modernization (Pafsam) Secretary Francis N. Pangilinan said prolonging the legal dispute over the use of the funds will prevent the coconut farmers from benefiting from its use.
Using the fund judiciously to ensure our coco farmers finally benefit from the fund after decades of bitter legal entanglements is the way forward, Pangilinan said in a statement.
This is after the Supreme Court (SC) issued on Tuesday a temporary restraining order (TRO) suspending the implementation of Executive Orders (EOs) 179 and 180 issued by President Aquino for the utilization of the P73.4-billion coco-levy funds.
Pangilinan said he is hoping that the matter can be resolved with dispatch.
The solution is the judicious use of the funds, not the knee-jerk opposition to its use and the filing of cases to prevent its use. EOs 179 and 180 were meant to ensure that the coco-levy funds are used judiciously, he said.
Pangilinan also urged the government and the critics to end the legal dispute over the funds.
We cannot be suing each other forever. By doing so, the reforms we seek will be further delayed. We need to move forward, and getting the fund out of the way of legal disputes is a necessary first step, he said.
The Pafsam oversees four executive agencies previously under the Department of Agriculture, including the Philippine Coconut Association.
Under EO 179 are the guidelines provided by the government for the inventory and privatization of coco-levy assets.
Meanwhile, EO 180 mandated the reconveyance and utilization of the assets for the benefit of coconut farmers and the development of the coconut industry.
The TRO was granted by the SC in response to the petition filed by the Confederation of Coconut Farmers Association of the Philippines Inc.
By Mary Grace Padin
Thursday, July 2, 2015
Pangilinan Calls for Judicious Use, not Knee-jerk Opposition to, Coco-levy Fund Deployment
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