The provincial board has asked the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) to facilitate the implementation of the crop insurance, health and medical programs, and scholarships for the coconut farmers and their families as part of the government’s effort to improve the lives of coconut farmers.
In a resolution, 2nd District Board Member Ariston Arzaga said that this benefit has long been overdue since the enactment of Republic Act No. 11524, or “Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund Act.”
“Ang tagal natin hinintay na magamit ang Coco Levy Fund, ang pondo na yan ay naipon [and] I think ngayon ata ay nasa P100 Billion na yan. Noong time ni President Duterte, naapproved ang RA 11524 na para doon sa pagtutuunan ng pondo at program ng coco levy na tinatawag na Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund Act,” he said.
“Sa batas sinasabi don na dapat mainsured ang tanim ng mga coconut farmers natin, may medical, hospital at scholarship program para sa families ng coconut farmers. ‘Yan po ang request natin sa PCA na sana magawan na nila ito ng paraan na maimplement,” he added.
Citing a study conducted by the Senate Committee on Agriculture, the resolution underscores that the coconut industry is considered the oldest but least stable agricultural industry in the Philippines. Coconut farmers belong to the marginalized sector of society, mostly living below the poverty line or with a daily income of P50 a day.
In Palawan, about 40,000 coconut farmers that cultivate 107,596.08 hectares of land were affected by calamities that needed support from the government.
“Madala na tayo, ‘yong nangyari sa atin noong bagyong Odette ay talagang wash out ang mga pananim. I think nasa 300,000 coconut trees ang nawala sa north ng lalawigan at hindi naka insured kaya ang program na ito ay gusto natin mapadali ang implementation para mainsured na ang mga pananim ng mga farmers. Hindi natin alam ang calamity kung kailan, nandyan na ang pera at batas kaya dapat mapakinabangan na sa tagal na din ng ating mga coconut farmers,” the board member added.
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