The veto by Pres Duterte of theP100-billion new coco levy bill has put the quest to effectively manage the money of the coconut industry back to square one.
The presidential veto said that the bill does not have enough safeguards to ensure that the money of the 3.5million coconut farmers which were collected by the late dictator Marcos would be protected from the same coco levy fund scam in the past.
The president who is a known fighter of corruption said the new coco levy bill is still prone to corruption like the pork barrel funds. More safeguards have to be made.
This is because the new coco levy bill would prevent and even exclude an oversight power by the executive department and leave it all to the congress’ coconut industry oversight committee and the coconut farmers.
There is an annual allocation of P10-billion by Congress and under the new bill, it is only the PCA that is given full discretion to disburse the annual allocation which is subject to review only after the sixth year. In short, there is no effective control measure against corruption.
The presidential veto of the new coco levy fund bill reflects the principled stand of the Duterte administration in promoting good governance and public accountability.
The vetoed bill would have sought to change the composition of the PCA which is tasked to manage the P100- billion trust fund for coconut farmers and the coco levy assets which were recovered by the government from the Marcoses and their cronies.
During the Marcos era, coco levy funds were collected from coconut farmers with the intention of improving the lot of all coconut stakeholders.
Instead, the coconut levy fund in the past was misused by its custodians and is now being withheld until such time when better management system of managing coco levy funds can be assured once and for all.