Senate Passes Measure Outlining Philippine Coconut Authority Board CompositionThursday, September 27, 2018
The Senate on Monday this week passed on third and final reading Senate Bill No. 1976 increasing the representation of coconut farmers in the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) board. Also known as the Strengthened Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) law, the bill was authored and sponsored by Senator Cynthia A. Villar, chairperson of the Senate committee on agriculture. The proposed measure seeks to amend Presidential Decree 1468 or the Revised Coconut Industry Code of 1987 that will reconstitute the PCA board.
Under the bill, the PCA Board will be composed of six farmer-representatives, two from each of the island groups (Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao), four government representatives, and one representative from the coconut industry. The four government representatives are the Agriculture Secretary as chairperson of the PCA board, the Finance Secretary as vice chairperson, the Budget Secretary, and the PCA Administrator, to be appointed by the President. The farmer-representatives must be Filipino citizens, be listed in the Coconut Farmers Registry, should have a track record of promoting the interests of coconut farmers, and be nominated by coconut farmer organizations active in the past three years.
The proposed measure was also the accompanying bill of Senate Bill No. 1233 or the proposed Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Act, which hurdled the bicameral conference committee in August, and is awaiting the President’s signature. Senate Bill No. 1233 created the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund, which was sourced from the P100 billion coconut levy funds collected during the term of President Ferdinand E. Marcos. The bill mandates the reconstituted PCA to manage and utilize such funds. The fund will be used exclusively for the benefit of coconut farmers and the development of the coconut industry. It will be released to PCA at P5 billion annually until it runs out, which is estimated to be within 25 years.