THE Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) said it is updating its coconut farmer registry following the recent signing of Republic Act No. 11524, or the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund Act.
In a virtual briefing Tuesday, PCA Administrator Benjamin R. Madrigal, Jr. said the PCA’s current registry contains 2.5 million farmers.
“We are updating the registry because it is possible that there are farmers who have died or decided to exit coconut farming. We are coming up with an updated list,” Mr. Madrigal said.
Mr. Madrigal said the PCA hopes to complete validating its registry within 90 days from the effectivity of the law.
He said the PCA offers various modes of registration: online, at provincial and municipal agricultural offices, at PCA regional offices, and the dispatch of PCA employees to register coconut farmers.
“According to the law, the direct beneficiaries of the coco levy are those who own up to five hectares of coconut farms, or tenants or farmers that do not own the land but are using it,” Mr. Madrigal said.
“We are registering every farmer so that we can see everyone who is contributing to the industry. All of them are stakeholders in the coconut industry,” he added.
On Feb. 26, President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed the law.
The law directs the Bureau of the Treasury to transfer P10 billion to the trust in the first year, P10 billion in the second, P15 billion in the third, P15 billion in the fourth, and P25 billion in the fifth.
Former President Ferdinand E. Marcos and his associates imposed the coconut levy on farmers, promising to improve the industry with the proceeds as well as a share of the investment returns.
However, the money was diverted to purchase corporate assets like the United Coconut Planters Bank and San Miguel Corp. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave