A bill long awaited by farmers to improve their lot is a step closer to reality after it was approved on second reading at the House of Representatives. The measure would create a trust fund for coconut farmers.
Passed through viva voce was House Bill 8136 or the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund Act.
The bill provides for the annual utilization of the trust fund for the following allocations: shared facilities program (10 percent); farm improvement (10 percent); development of hybrid coconut seed farms and nurseries (10 percent); empowerment of coconut farmer organizations and their cooperatives (10 percent); scholarship program (10 percent); health and medical program (10 percent); credit provision (10 percent); infrastructure development (10 percent); training of farmers in farm schools (10 percent); and planting and replanting (10 percent).
Coco farmers prime beneficiary
The trust fund shall be maintained for 99 years or until it is fully utilized or its purpose fulfilled and shall be used exclusively for the benefit of the coconut farmers and the development of the coconut industry.
An initial allocation of P5 billion shall be available to the Philippine Coconut Authority, which shall include disbursements for the formulation of the Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Plan.
The Department of Finance shall be designated as the manager of the trust fund.