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March 01, 2024

Coco levy fund committee not even close to delivering its management and disposition mandate

Although the interagency Trust Fund Management Committee (TFMC) handling the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund (CFITF) met on Thursday for only the first time this year, it was nowhere near in delivering its mandate of properly and equitably disposing of the funds.

The CFITF was last estimated north of P100 billion to P150 billion but the TFMC came away from the meeting saying only there was discussion on how to efficiently and swiftly use the funds down the line. The goal is to optimize the use of the multibillion-peso coco levy fund for the benefit of the country’s coconut farmers.

Finance Secretary and TFMC Chairman Carlos G. Dominguez III, presided over the discussions held last February 7 that focused on issues concerning the disputed shares in the United Coconut Planters Life Assurance Corp. (Cocolife) and the status of the reconveyance of the shares to the government.

This developed in the wake of the signing by President Duterte in February last year Republic Act 11524 establishing the CFITF and finally extend benefits on some 2.5 million coconut farmers and elevate the coconut industry in general

For one, the TFMC was directed to draft the legislation’s implementing rules and regulations (IRR) and give flesh to the mandate of making the coconut levy funds work for the farmers and industry they are in.

The Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) serves as TFMC Secretariat and reported on the income performance of the CFITF, the planned 2022 disbursement and asset allocation and the accomplishment report for 2021 which was submitted to the Office of the President (OP) and the Congressional Oversight Committee on Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization (COCAFAM).

During the meeting, the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) bared its responses to queries from coconut farmers’ groups on the coco levy fund.

The TFMC also approved the 2022 budget of the BTr as TFMC Secretariat, subject to the evaluation of the pay rates of its personnel services component by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).

The TFMC include Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra and Budget OIC-Secretary Tina Rose Marie Canda; Finance Undersecretary and CFITF Manager Antonette Tionko; National Treasurer and Head of TFMC Secretariat Rosalia de Leon; and OIC-Deputy Treasurer Eduardo Mariño III; PCGG Chairman John Agbayani; and Land Bank of the Philippines (LandBank) Senior Vice President Gonzalo Bongolan.


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