Coco levy fund won't be used for other purposes outside industry, says Arancon
MANILA - The Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) continues to engage stakeholders on the draft executive order that will resolve how the more than P70 billion coco levy funds will be used.
In an interview with ABS-CBNnews.com, PCA Administrator Romulo Arancon Jr. said “the clamor is to be able to use the coco levy funds as soon as possible, but it will all depend on President Aquino.”
He said the general agreement among those helping in the drafting of the executive fiat, which includes farmer groups, is to treat the fund as a “perpetual trust fund for the use of the industry.”
This means that that the fund will remain with the National Treasury, but its interest income and dividends will be used for farmers, their families, and livelihood programs.
He said the coco levy kitty has already generated at least P2.5 billion in interest income.
Arancon said these programs and projects may include the rehabilitation of coconut farms affected by super typhoon Yolanda.
At least 16 million coconut trees were damaged in the aftermath of one of the strongest and deadliest typhoons to hit the country, which had a direct impact on Philippine exports.
He said safeguards need to be threshed out in order to ensure that the coco levy will be used solely for the purpose it was intended for.
COCO OIL EXPORTS DOWN
Meanwhile, the series of typhoons that hit the country over the past few months will reduce the production of coconut oil this year by 10 to 15 percent.
“We just came [at the end of] three-year, very high yields. Coconut trees undergo inter-annual yield variations,” Arancon added.
If not for this setback, the Philippines usually accounts for more than 40% of coconut oil exports. The Philippines' coco oil, which big importers like the United States and Europe buy, is used in daily items such as detergents, bath soaps, and margarine.
Arancon said there are emerging oil product exports from the Philippines, including virgin coconut oil, coconut water, coconut flour, and coconut shell charcoal.
Arancon said the PCA is in the midst of assisting the rehabilitation of Yolanda-hit communities. “We are replanting and introducing intercropping.”