Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd emphasized on Wednesday the importance of the Coco Levy Trust Fund Law to the coconut industry and farmers.
“With the Coco Levy Trust Fund Law in place, we now have a powerful instrument to revitalize and reinvent the coconut industry and support our coconut farmers,” he said during a virtual Coconut Investment Forum on Wednesday.
The bill, which was signed into law on February 26 and went into effect on March 13, aims to revitalize the coconut industry by repurposing seized coco tax assets that were designated state-owned by the Supreme Court less than 10 years ago.
“To avoid the painful mistakes of the past, the law is equipped with checks and balances. It provides a transparent mechanism in the management and utilization of the coco levy funds,” according to Dominguez.
He said the cash assets of the coco levy funds are currently worth around P76 billion and are handled by a multi-agency commission under the Department of Finance’s supervision.
Finance chief added that the Trust Fund Management Committee is tasked by law with properly managing the coconut levy trust fund in order to achieve the government’s strategic development goals. He also stated that the group has met twice this year and is progressing well.
Dominguez also said that the trust fund has started the process of developing programs and activities that will benefit coconut farmers.
“The Philippine Coconut Authority is currently finalizing the Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Plan. We are also developing guidelines for the disbursement of allocations under the fund.”
He added that the group is looking into new technology training programs, crop insurance, and financial access for the direct benefit of coconut growers. It is willing to invest in hybrid coconut seed farms, research, and infrastructure for the entire industry.