MANILA - The House of Representatives approved Monday a measure that seeks to establish a trust fund to be used exclusively for coconut farmers and the coconut industry.
Voting 159-5, the lower chamber approved House Bill 9197, which is authored by House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and ANAC-IP Party-List Rep. Jose Panganiban Jr.
Under the bill, known as "Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Trust Fund Act," a P10-billion "jumpstart fund" will be used within 2 years following the measure's approval from the President.
An annual allocation of at least P5 billion shall be released for the programs and projects provided under the law.
The initial capital of the trust fund shall come from all assets and/or properties derived from coconut levy recovered assets and all dividends, interest earnings, and incomes that are available upon the effectivity of the law.
The trust fund shall be maintained for a period of 30 years or until the fund is fully utilized. No portion of the trust fund shall be derived from the general fund of the national government. Any unutilized balance in the trust fund after 30 years shall revert to the general fund of the national government, and shall be capitalized, managed, utilized, and accounted for in the manner provided in the law.
The Bureau of the Treasury is the designated depository of the trust fund. - Report from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News