MANILA – Militant groups are calling for the resignation of government-appointed directors of the United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB) over the alleged denial of small coconut farmers in claiming coconut levy funds.
The spokesperson of Coco Levy Funds Ibalik sa Amin (CLAIM), Nestor Villanueva, said UCPB’s plans to sell the bank to Tan-led Philippine National Bank is a “betrayal” to coconut farmers.
"Instead of returning the money to small coconut farmers, the UCPB board appears bent on selling the bank and transferring the coco levy funds from one Marcos crony to another,” Villanueva said in a statement.
"72.2 percent of the UCPB was purchased by the government using coco levy funds. 72.2 percent of UCPB is owned by small coconut farmers. Selling UCPB is the height of betrayal by the bank's board of directors and the Aquino administration to small coconut farmers," he added.
Villanueva also said that the P15.6 billion claim of the UCPB board on the estimated P71 billion remitted by the Presidential Commission on Good Government to the Bureau of Treasury goes against the bank's mandate.
"The board's highly irregular and plunderous schemes are strong grounds for small coconut farmers to push the resignation of government-appointed board of directors in UCPB," he said.
CLAIM and Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) picketed the UCPB head office in Makati City on Friday.
CLAIM and KMP are supporting Anakpawis party-list Rep. Fernando Hicap’s resolution asking the House Committee on Banks and Financial Intermediaries to investigate a possible conflict of interest of UCPB in hiring the Divina Law Firm in relation to cases involving claims on the coco levy funds.
The Divina Law Firm is owned by UCPB director Atty. Nilo Divina.