Farmers expect pols’ promise to be fulfilled
Coco trust fund law sought in Congress
At the Agriculture committee hearing in the House of Representatives, members of Kilus Magniniyog followed up on a singular promise made by politicians during the tail end of their march from Davao to Manila – pass the Coconut Farmers’ Trust Fund Bill into law.
KM 71, the group of Kilus Magniniyog’s 71 coconut farmer-marchers who, without let up, trekked for 71 days for the P71 billion coco levy funds declared by the Supreme Court to be rightfully theirs thru a partial entry of judgement last week is ready to slug it out today in the House of Representatives and demand what is rightfully theirs.
The group’s lead convenor Eduardo ‘Ka Ed’ Mora recalls that during their meeting with House Members last 25 November 2014, Speaker Feliciano ‘Sonny’ Belmonte himself said that “they want the best for the beneficiaries in the coconut industry.” The Speaker likewise summoned several House Members who will be key in passing the proposed measure who engaged the coconut farmers in a frank exchange of the coconut industry and farmers’ situation. They were Reps. Walden Bello, Evelyn P. Mellana, Joselito ‘Jonjon’ Mendoza, Mark Llandro Mendoza, Agapito Guanlao, and Josefine Sato.
Before the farmers left Congress that 25th day of November, Agriculture Committee Chair Mark Llandro Mendoza finally scheduled a public hearing on 16 December, today on the pending coco levy bills.
“We appeal to the Chair and the Committee’s members that they will, this time act fast on our proposed Farmers’ Initiative bill that creates the Coconut Farmers’ Trust Fund,” Mora adds. It is tagged as Petition No. 3 in the House of Representatives.
Several House Members have actually supported the filing of the Indirect Initiative Bill of the farmers, including Reps. Arlene ‘Kaka’ Bag-ao and Teddy Baguilat.
The KM71’s call has been backed by Malacañang, led by President Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III himself who had earlier expressed the need for a law on the utilization of the coconut levy funds to protect the interest of the farmers and the industry. The President likewise promised a certification of the bill to ensure its early passage.
Mora said while an Executive Order is in the works to establish the fund after the Supreme Court granted the government’s motion for a partial entry of judgment on the case, a law will ensure the transparent and efficient use of the funds throughout changes in the administration.
“Our proposed bill is also important to make sure that our sector can be widely and meaningfully represented in all decisions and actions regarding the use of the funds,” says Mora.
For further information and to request for interviews, contact:
For Kilus Magniniyog – CAROL PAJARON: 0918-9470996 / email@example.com
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PRESS RELEASE: 16 December 2014
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