President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday vowed to “thoroughly review the proposed Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Trust Fund Act to ensure transparency and accountability in the administration of the Coco Levy Fund” which has reportedly reached P100 billion.
The Chief Executive said the review “will be guided by (his) principle that coconut farmers must receive the most benefit from any law about the fund.
“In 2019, I vetoed a previous version of this bill because it lacked vital safeguards and it would have disproportionately benefitted wealthy coconut farmers,” the President said.
“Once a new version of the bill is submitted to my office, it will undergo thorough and stringent review to ensure that vital safeguards are placed to protect small farmers,” he added.
“What we are looking for is a measure that will benefit all coconut farmers, especially the poorest and the most marginalized,” he further stated.
Mr. Duterte, in the same exclusive Tribune interview, also reported that the 2019 National Household Survey on the Patterns and Trends of Drug Abuse released by the Dangerous Drugs Board see around 1.67 million Filipinos aged 10 to 69 are users of illegal drugs.
This is a dip from the preview estimate of about 7 million Filipinos allegedly hooked on the use and trade of illegal drugs.
The new number, the President said, consists of Filipinos aged 10 to 69.
“As of 30 November, the government’s accomplishments in our ongoing efforts against illegal drug trade include 185,661 operations conducted (since Duterte was sworn in as President); 269,046 drug personalities arrested; 5,980 drug personalities killed during anti-drug operations; 3,467 minors rescued; 17 clandestine laboratories dismantled; and 639 drug dens dismantled.
Also, the President said as total 7,462 kilograms of shabu worth P46.76 billion had been seized, part of the total P56.67 billion illegal drugs seized.
Of the 42, 045 barangays, the President reported 14,214 are still considered as drug-affected localities while 20,700 have been cleared.
It’s still the people’s battle against the coronavirus, however, which the Chief Executive wants to win soonest.
Looking back on the year that was, I can say that we had quite an eventful and challenging year. Aside from the obstacles brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, we still had to face the many ills that continue to plague our society such as corruption, violence, poverty and illegal drugs.
“For the coming year, my fondest wish is for our battle against Covid-19 to come to an end. I am certain that in the next few months, the vaccines that the government bought will be ready for distribution to our citizens,” he said.
“The challenge for the government is to ensure that the distribution will flow smoothly and go according to plan,” he added.
“Looking back on the year that was, I can say that we had quite an eventful and challenging year. Aside from the obstacles brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, we still had to face the many ills that continue to plague our society such as corruption, violence, poverty and illegal drugs,” Mr. Duterte stated.
“I am pleased that through the selfless efforts of our public servants and the cooperation of ordinary citizens, we were able to overcome these trials. My sincere hope for the coming year is for us to renew our strength so we may continue fighting not just for our individual aspirations, but for the future of the country as well,” he closed.