President-elect Rodrigo Duterte ordered incoming presidential chief legal counsel Salvador Panelo to “start the effort” in making sure that the multibillion-peso coco levy funds will be released to farmers, said designated Agriculture chief Emmanuel “Manny” Piñol.
“The President made the directive after I requested him to make a policy statement on the coconut levy funds because I have been receiving a lot of questions on the issue,” said Piñol on Thursday.
He also said that Duterte told the next Cabinet members that the coco levy was an “emotional issue” for farmers, including the President-elect’s late mother.
“I am directing Atty. Panelo to look into this matter and make sure that the coconut levy funds are released to the farmers,” Duterte said as quoted by Piñol.
In his campaign on the last election, Duterte promised to release the coco levy fund to farmers on the first month of his term.
The coconut farmers’ funds were reputedly used by Eduardo Cojuangco, Noynoy Aquino’s uncle, in acquiring the United Coconut Planters Bank, San Miguel Corporation, and other businesses.