MANILA - A lawmaker is also seeking a probe into the alleged illegal use of the coco levy funds.
AGRI Party-list Rep. Delphine Lee questioned the allocation of P305 million from the coconut levy fund for the establishment of agro-industrial hubs in five regions across the country.
"The government should be mindful of the clear intent of the Supreme Court ruling that coco levy funds shall be used for the development of the coconut industry for the benefit of the millions of coconut farmers. The coco levy funds that were recovered by the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) after more than 25 years of litigation have already been turned over by the agency to the National Treasury," said Lee.
The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas earlier lambasted President Benigno Aquino III’s plans to “dip his hands” into the coco levy fund.
KMP deputy secretary general Willy Marbella said the government is only a trustee of the coco funds. He said creating the agro-industrial hubs will go against the ruling of the Supreme Court that the funds, exacted from coco farmers during the Marcos regime, should go back to them.
“It is totally revolting that P305 million of small coconut farmers’ money will be spent for the so-called agro-industrial estate project that will only benefit big local and foreign agri-businesses,” Marbella had said.
Based on estimates, Lee said there are 3.5 million coconut farmers, or 20 million including their families, who belong to the poorest segment of the country's population.