Bam on Coco Levy Fund

Excerpts of Sen. Bam’s statement during the Committee on Agriculture hearing


Mr. Chairman, marami po sa atin, naghihintay na noong 16th Congress pa lang. Our chairperson was Sen. Villar. And we did go very far, nabitin lang po sa dulo.

 Many of us here really wanted this bill to pass. And if I’m not mistaken, aside from choices of words or phrasing, there are four main issues.

 First of all Mr. Chairman, is the composition of the Board of Trustees. Iyong iba po, mas kumikiling sa pribadong sektor, iyong iba mas kumikiling sa government. My version is more on the side of having more farmers on the board.

 Secondly Mr. Chairman, is where will we invest the money? I think was the stickiest point in the 16th Congress. Iyong iba po, mas konserbatibo – only in government securities. Iyong iba po, mas risky na ang kapalit po noon ay higher yield.

 Third is the provision of Sen. Villar, which is to mandate the budgets of ECA. I think her version is the only version with that provision.

 Maybe a fourth is about the privatization of the 30 billion. There are some provisions I think in Sen. Villar’s bill which details how that is to be privatized.

 Those are the only main points Mr. Chairman. Of course anyone can correct me if I’m wrong.

 Now I would like also to ask the body to weigh in on those four points because we’ve already agreed on 95 percent of the bill.

 Iyong apat po na iyon – iyong privatization of the 30 billion, iyong composition ng trust fund members, iyong kung saan puwedeng i-invest iyong pera and iyong some provisions that are on PCA – kung saan nila gagastusin ang budget.

 More or less, iyong apat na iyon ang kailangan nilang pag-usapan.

 But, I would really suggest Mr. Chairman na imadali natin ito. I personally feel this should have been passed already.

 Let’s not wait for the maturity of the bonds. Let’s not wait na may masayang pa po na opportunity cost with the interest. Let’s pass it as fast as we can.

 I’m hoping we can really fast-track this.


Sen. Bam is the author of Senate Bill No. 669 or the Coconut Farmers’ Trust Fund Act.

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