THE GOVERNMENT has set up an asset registry that will ensure up-to-date records on assets related to the coconut levy fund, consistent with audited inventory.

The registry will serve as a “check and balance” on the utilization and management of the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund, the Department of Finance said in a statement Saturday.

“It is now the task of the Trust Fund Management Committee (TFMC) to properly manage the coconut levy trust fund, which is estimated at P75 billion, so that it serves our strategic development goals,” Finance Secretary and TFMC Chairman Carlos Dominguez III said during the first meeting of the TFMC on June 17.

Republic Act No. 11524 or the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund Act authorized the creation of the TFMC, an inter-agency body overseeing the coco levy assets. Enacted in February, the law allows coconut farmers to reap the benefits from taxes exacted during the Marcos administration, which were then diverted towards the purchase of corporate assets for the benefit of associates of President Ferdinand E. Marcos. 

As the TFMC’s secretariat, the Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) will be in charge of the Coco Levy Asset Registry.

“We have an asset registry in place. (We) just need to input relevant info on coco levy assets,” National Treasurer Rosalia V. De Leon said in a Viber message.

The registry is expected to include records on both cash and non-cash assets. They will be separated under assets already declared with finality to belong to the government and those continuing to be subject to litigation.

Records will initially be based on the inventory submitted by the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG). The agency estimated coco levy assets to be initially worth P113.88 billion, including cash and shares of stock, holding and trading companies, as well as their subsidiaries.

The BTr, as the TFMC Secretariat, has said some assets in the PCGG are still the subject of dispute in various courts such as the Sandiganbayan, Supreme Court, and the Regional Trial Courts, making the registry subject to regular updates.

The Commission on Audit is expected to submit its audit report to the TFMC within a year after the submission of the PCGG Inventory.

About 3.5 million coconut farmers are expected to benefit from the trust fund created by Republic Act No.11524, Senator Cynthia A. Villar, who chairs the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food, said in March. — Luz Wendy T. Noble