Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III has directed the manager of the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund (CFITF) and the secretariat of the committee overseeing this fund to conduct a thorough study of the report done by the Commission on Audit (COA) on the status of the coconut levy-acquired assets.
The COA presented a brief report of its audit during the 7th Trust Fund Management Committee (TFMC) meeting held on May 4, 2022.
This Committee chaired by Dominguez is tasked to oversee the utilization of the CFITF.
Dominguez commended COA, for what he described as a “heroic effort” of examining the extensive amount of data on the coco levy assets.
Finance Undersecretary Antonette Tionko, who is the CFITF manager, said the COA audit is a “good starting point” in determining how to properly dispose of the coco levy assets and come up with an investment portfolio strategy for the benefit of the coconut industry and the country’s estimated 2.5 million coconut farmers.
Under Republic Act (RA) No. 11524 that created the CFITF, the COA is mandated to audit the inventory done by the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) on the coco levy assets “to determine the completeness of said inventory, establish the 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 Funds to the Republic.”
Given the volume of data involved in the COA audit, Dominguez asked that a thorough study be done on this report by Tionko, as the CFITF Manager, and the TFMC Secretariat, headed by National Treasurer Rosalia 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,” said Dominguez during the meeting.
The PCGG has reported that as of December 2020, the value of the coco levy assets amounted to P113.88 billion.
After its audit, the COA determined that this was overstated by P2.63 billion, with its adjusted tally amounting to P111.25 billion.
“This is a very good beginning and, as Undersecretary Tionko said, we will continue to engage with you to go through the fine points and to report in great detail,” Dominguez told the COA team led by Commissioner Roland Pondoc.
During the meeting, the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) also presented to the TFMC the status of the implementation of the Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Plan (CFIDP).
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 meeting was also attended by, among others, TFMC members Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra and Budget Officer-in-Charge (OIC)-Secretary Tina Rose Marie Canda; OIC Deputy Treasurer Eduardo Mariño; PCGG Chairman John Agbayani; and Land Bank of the Philippines (LandBank) Senior Vice President Gonzalo Bongolan.