If she wins the presidency in Eleksyon 2022, Vice President Leni Robredo said she will ensure the coco levy trust fund will give representation to farmers.
In a radio interview in Quezon on Saturday, Robredo said she objected to the signed coconut levy fund law during the Duterte administration because it did not give representation to farmers.
"'Yung pinirmahan na version, 'di ako d'un sang-ayon... Kasi mayroong provisions na para sa 'kin, hindi siya 'yung parang heart and soul nu'ng batas. 'Yung heart and soul kung bakit may coco levy fund hindi niya sasagutin," Robredo explained.
(I disagree with Duterte's signed version [of the law]. There are provisions that remove the heart and soul of what the law intends to address.)
"'Yung objectionable for me, kulang representation ng farmers doon sa pag-manage ng farm," she added.
(What's objectionable for me is that there is a lack of representation of farmers to manage the farm.)
If farmers will not be given a voice, Robredo warned that the coco levy fund may be given to cronies instead of farmers similar to what happened during the Marcos dictatorship.
"E 'pag sinuri natin walang pagbabago nu'ng panahon ni (Ferdinand) Marcos (Sr.). Kaya nagkaproblema kasi 'yung cronies ng Marcos sila representative ng mga pamahalaan na hindi siya nag-decision in favor of farmers," said Robredo.
(If we study this [law], [we will see that] there is no change to how things were during the time of [Ferdinand] Marcos [Sr.]. There was a problem because Marcos' cronies represented the government and they did not decide in favor of farmers.)
"Kasi 'yung coco levy fund galing sa pera ng nagniniyog. Kaya sinesetup ang funds para itulong sa kanila. Pero imbis na itulong a kanila, napunta siya sa mga cronies," she added.
(The coco levy fund comes from coconut farmers. These funds were set up to help them but instead these funds were given to the cronies.)
She then vowed to make the coco levy fund a priority bill to amend the objectionable provisions in the law.
"Para sa 'kin 'yung version na ito, hindi ito version na sapat. So kung ako palarin, ito i-pro-propose natin gagawin natin na priority bill 'yung pag-aayos ng objectionable sa batas," said Robredo.
(For me, this version is insufficient. So if I get lucky and win the elections, I will propose that this priority bill will fix the objectionable provisions.)
President Rodrigo Duterte vetoed an earlier version of the coco levy fund bill.
He then signed a newer version in early 2021, which established a Trust Fund that will manage around P75 billion cash and assets for the country's coconut farmers.
In his final State of the Nation Address, Duterte said he fulfilled his promise to return the coco levy fund to the farmers. —KG, GMA News