The House of Representatives on Monday approved on third reading a measure that would create a trust fund for coconut farmers.

With 221 affirmative votes, six negative votes and no abstention, the lower chamber passed on final reading House Bill 8136 or the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund Act.

The bill provides for the annual utilization of the trust fund for the following allocations: shared facilities program (10 percent); farm improvement (10 percent); development of hybrid coconut seed farms and nurseries (10 percent); empowerment of coconut farmer organizations and their cooperatives (10 percent); scholarship program (10 percent); health and medical program (10 percent); credit provision (10 percent); infrastructure development (10 percent); training of farmers in farm schools (10 percent); and planting and replanting (10 percent).

The trust fund shall be maintained for 99 years or until it is fully utilized or its purpose fulfilled and shall be used exclusively for the benefit of the coconut farmers and the development of the coconut industry.

An initial allocation of PHP5 billion shall be available to the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), which shall include disbursements for the formulation of the Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Plan.

The Department of Finance shall be designated as the manager of the trust fund. (PNA)