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THE House of Representatives approved on second reading Wednesday the refiled bill creating the Coconut Industry Trust Fund, which Malacañang had vetoed.
House Bill 9197 is the refiled version of the vetoed House Bill 5745 or Senate Bill No. 1233 which sought to put the P100-billion coconut levy assets into a trust fund to be used for coconut farmers and the coconut industry.
During the interpellation, Anakpawis Rep. Ariel B. Casilao said the bill will be a big help to coconut farmers.
“Hindi lang ito simpleng public fund. Pera po ito ng mga maniniyog, pera ito ng mga pobre na magsasaka (This is not just a simple public fund. This is the money of our poor coconut farmers),” said Mr. Casilao.
The original measure was vetoed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte in February citing that he wants more safeguards and a stronger Executive role in the implementation of the P10-billion annual appropriation for the development of the coconut industry.
“It may not give justice for what they have suffered, but at least it is due to them and let this Congress to facilitate,” said Mr. Casilao.
The bill seeks to strengthen the Philippine Coconut Authority Governing Board with the appointment of four Cabinet secretaries, six representatives from among the coconut farmers and one from the coconut industry. — Vince Angelo C. Ferreras