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Tañada puzzled by Duterte’s veto of coco levy fund bill

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Former Quezon Rep. Erin Tañada on Wednesdy expressed puzzlement over President Rodrigo Duterte’s veto of the Coconut Trust Fund bill, a priority social justice measure, saying the executive branch could have worked with Congress to modify it according to his wishes.

“The executive has all the opportunity to say what shape, size, color it wants the bill to finally look like,” the Otso Diretso senatorial candidate said in a statement.

“In fact, an enrolled bill was scheduled for signing some time last year but after it already sent signals that some provisions need further work, Congress withdrew the bill from Malacanang and sent it back to bicam,” Tañada said.

“Sino ba natutulog sa pansitan dito?” he asked.

“The coco farmers definitely were not sleeping,” Tañada said.

According to the former lawmaker, the early version of the bill, “which is actually what my father and I worked on and filed as legislators earlier, vests the management and utilization of the fund to a Trust Fund Committee under the Office of the President, cognizant of the institutional problems that beset the PCA (Philippine Coconut Authority).”

“The coco farmers too expressed dissent on a free for all access to the benefits of the fund rather than limit it to small coco farmers whose land is 5 hectares and below,” he said.

“Tama ang Kilus Magniniyog at ang marami nating mamamayan…Pag gusto may paraan, pag ayaw, ang daming dahilan,” Tañada said.