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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
B2-1
Pangilinan Calls for Judicious Use, not Knee-jerk Opposition to, Coco-levy Fund Deployment

YOLANDA RECOVERY & REHABILITATION PROGRAM

The core program is tagged as Yolanda Recovery and Rehabilitation Program (YRRP) which is composed of four (4) major components such as (1) Debris Management (which includes timber disposal and utilization); (2) Replanting; (3) Fertilization and (4) Intercropping.

YRRP is being implemented in provinces affected by the typhoon Yolanda in Region 6 (Western Visayas), Region 7 (Central Visayas) and Region 8 (Eastern Visayas).

 

DEBRIS MANAGEMENT

This involves proper disposal of felled coconut trees to clear public and private lands of the debris that poses hazard to the environment and health. This project also aims to prevent the occurrence of pest infestation, support organic fertilization and shelter development program of the government thru:

  1. deployment of chainsaws and saw mills
  2. cash-for-Work (CFW) program for hired chainsaw operators
  3. Biological Control Program for the potential occurrence of rhinoceros beetle. This involves mass production of Green Muscardine Fungus (GMF).

 

REPLANTING

It is the replacement of totally damaged coconut trees thru replanting using OPV tall variety. It shall implement a new planting scheme − by group of 3's in triangular pattern particularly in upland and coastal areas.

The project involves a grant-in-kind of 192 trees per hectare (in coastal and upland areas) or 100 trees per hectare (inland) area plus Php 3,000 subsidy for labor.

 

FERTILIZATION

Provision of grant-in-kind fertilizers to affected coconut farming families such as:

  1. a compact N+K fertilizer of 10 pieces per coconut tree or 10 boxes per hectare with 100 coconut trees planted; or
  2. Coco-Gro at 3 kg. per tree or 6 bags/hectare; or
  3. other suitable fertilizers recommended, e.g. organic fertilizers, etc.

This is intended for slightly or moderately affected trees to hasten its recovery. The project involves grant of Php 3,000 labor subsidy per hectare.

 

INTERCROPPING

Intercropping involves planting of leguminous crops, e.g. Mungbean and peanut to increase soil fertility; and also corn, vegetable, root crops, banana, coffee, and cacao among others. This is to augment their income, enhance food supply and mitigate hunger and malnutrition.

A grant-in-kind assistance in the form of planting materials and fertilizers shall be provided to affected farmer families.

The MOU signing ceremony between the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization - Philippine Coconut Authority of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines, represented by Secretary Francis N. Pangilinan and the Ministry of Agriculture of the Government of the Republic of Fiji, represented by H. E. Mr. Inia Seruiratu, on Bilateral Technical Cooperation on the Development of the Coconut Industry.

The said MOU signing was held on September 11, 2015 at the PCA Executive Lounge in Diliman, Quezon City.

Philippine Coconut Authority and the University of the Philippines sign a Memorandum of Understanding on Coconut Seed Farm Development Project (CSFDP).

 

The objective of this MOU is to explore collaboration, cooperation, and partnership between the PCA and UP in undertaking the Coconut Seed Farm Development Project (CSFDP) with the objective of enhancing the coconut seednut supply in the country for the sustainability of the coconut planting and replanting program of the PCA and the industry. The project proposes to promote the establishment of Coconut Seed Farms in available and suitable lands owned by UP.