PH farmers’ Coco levy funds: A brief history
Coconut levy is the tax collected from the exacted exported coconut and coconut products under the Republic Act 6260 or the “Coconut Investment Act”. In 1972, the first of these levies was implemented and known as the “Cocofund Levy”. The tax exacted from these levies was 5.50 pesos per metric ton which was equal to 55 centavos per 100 kilos of copra that was produced for that year onwards until they reached the accumulation point of P100 million. From P 0.55, the P 0.50 was the deduction that went to the Coconut Investment Fund or CIF that was used for operations of an organization for coconut farmers handled by the COCOFED. On August 20, 1973 cocolevy funds were established by President Ferdinand Marcos under the presidential decree (PD) 276. Under this decree, there was an initial P15 imposed per 100 kg of copra that was equal to other coconut products. The Coconut Consumer Stabilization Fund (CCSF) exacted P150 of metric ton per copra. The P150 pesos exacted was used for financing the first governmental agency. Late President Ferdinand Marcos stated when he declared the decree of authorizing the coco levy during his administration was “It shall be the policy of the State to promote the accelerated growth of the coconut and other palm oils industry so that the benefits of such growth shall accrue to the greatest number…so that the coconut farmers (shall) become participants in, and beneficiaries of, such growth and development”. In 1981, as an indicator that the imposed levies added to the burden of the farmers, it was finally set aside in 1982. But the total collections from the levies were estimated to have reached 1B annually. It reached a total of 9.7 B in 1981. After 25 years of waiting, the Supreme Court provides decision dated on September 12, 2012 that the public released for public dispensation is P70 billion including interests on the fund since it is held in escrow. But the question is how the funds...
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