House Agriculture Committee Chair and ANAC-IP Rep. Jose Panganiban, Jr. expressed hope on Thursday that the issues found by the Executive Branch in the coco levy fund bill will be resolved soon, adding that he welcomes a “second chance” to further improve the measure.

The bill is set to be signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday after it hurdled the bicameral conference committee last month.

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, however, offered to recall the bill and reconstitute the bicameral conference committee upon learning that there was a possibility the President could veto it.

Let’s just focus on addressing the contentious issues and finding ways to make this law more beneficial to all.

“Sana maayos natin at the soonest possible time. Our coconut farmers have been hoping for the passage of this bill,“ said Panganiban. (We hope to fix this at the soonest possible time. Our coconut farmers have been hoping for the passage of this bill)

The two provisions under contention are on the higher number of civilians or farmer representatives than government officials in the reconstituted Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) board that would handle the coco levy funds, as well as the lack of a sunset provision for the P10 billion yearly appropriation to the PCA for the coconut industry.

Both Houses of Congress have since filed Concurrent Resolution No. 22 to recall House Bill No. 5745 and Senate Bill No. 1233, or “An Act Creating the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund, Providing for its Management and Utilization and for Other Purposes.”

“In a relationship, they say you should be always open to a second chance. It is the same in the making of laws. Let’s use this second chance wisely.”

“Moving forward, we have to improve coordination with the Executive Branch so that we can ensure that we are on the same page, particularly with regard to priority bills,” said Panganiban.

Panganiban said that at this point it would benefit all stakeholders if the Legislature used this opportunity to “fine-tune and make a good piece of legislation better.”

“Let’s just focus on addressing the contentious issues and finding ways to make this law more beneficial to all. Sa mga relasyon, sabi nila dapat laging bukas ang isip sa second chance; ganun din dapat pagdating sa mga panukalang batas. Let’s use this second chance wisely.” (Let’s just focus on addressing the contentious issues and finding ways to make this law more beneficial to all. In a relationship, they say you should be always open to a second chance. It is the same in the making of laws. Let’s use this second chance wisely).

 

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