FINANCE Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III is seeking a review of the assets obtained using the coconut levy funds in order to identify possible candidates for disposal, the Department of Finance (DoF) said in a statement.
The review will use as its basis a Commission on Audit (CoA) report on assets acquired using the coconut levy funds collected from farmers in the 1970s. It will be conducted by the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund (CFITF) Manager, Finance Undersecretary Antonnete C. Tionko, and the Trust Fund Management Committee (TFMC) Secretariat, headed by National Treasurer Rosalia V. de Leon.
“Please go over this report and parse it, and to go through this with a fine-tooth comb, and report to the Committee as soon as possible of what is the real status of the assets, what can be disposed, what cannot be disposed, what’s tied up in court, and other related matters,” Mr. Dominguez was quoted as saying during the meeting of the committee, which he chairs.
The CoA report was presented at the 7th TFMC meeting on May 4.
Ms. Tionko said that the CoA audit report was a “good starting point” for a trust fund investment strategy to benefit coconut farmers.
Republic Act (RA) No. 11524 created the CFITF, which aims to raise coconut output, bring farmers out of poverty, and modernize the industry.
The CoA audit sought “to determine the completeness of the inventory (of assets), establish reasonableness of the asset valuation, trace the flow of the Coconut Levy Funds and to determine compliance with pertinent laws, rules and regulations on the reconveyance of the Coconut Levy Assets and/or Fund to the Republic.”
Assets of the coconut levy amounted to P113.88 billion as of 2020. The CoA audit knocked that total down to P111.25 billion.
“The TFMC also resumed discussions on the legal options available to speed up the disposal of several coco levy assets so that their proceeds can be used for the benefit of the country’s coconut farmers,” the DoF said. — Tobias Jared Tomas