Senate passes Villar’s bill for bigger representation of farmers in PCA

Published September 24, 2018, 5:25 PM

by Patrick Garcia

By Vanne Elaine Terrazola

The Senate unanimously approved on third and final reading Monday the bill that would provide more representation for coconut farmers in the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA).

Senate of the Philippines / Manila Bulletin
Senate of the Philippines / Manila Bulletin

With 18 senators voting in the affirmative, the Upper Chamber passed on final reading Senate Bill No. 1976, which seeks to reconstitute the PCA board and give coconut farmers greater representation in the agency tasked to manage the P105-billion coco levy fund.

The measure, titled The Strengthened Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) Bill, amends Presidential Decree 1468, the Revised Coconut Industry Code of 1978, to include six farmer-representatives in the 11-member PCA Board.

Senator Cynthia Villar, author of SB 1976, said the measure will accompany the proposed Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Act which would establish the P105-billion coconut trust fund and would provided for its management and utilization by the reconstituted PCA.

It was recently submitted to Malacañang for the President’s signature.

Villar said SB 1976 would guarantee the interest of farmers would be protected in the management of the coco levy fund.

“It is the bill that would safeguard the approximately P100 billion coco levy funds composed of cash and assets and ensure increased income for all coconut farmers such as investments of the trust funds in Philippine government securities to ensure the safety of the fund and for assured returns,” she said.

Under the bill, two representatives for coconut farmers would be appointed from each the island groups of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao as members of the reconstituted PCA board.

The farmer-representatives must be Filipino citizens, registered with the Coconut Farmers Registry, have considerable experience and reputable track record in promoting coconut farmer’s interest and welfare, and nominated by coconut farmers organizations or cooperatives that are active for the past three years in the farmers organizations and development or community enterprise development.

The reconstituted PCA board would be led by four government representatives, while and one industry representative would also sit as member.