The commotion this morning inside the main office of the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) that culminated in the violent dispersal of peasant activists was sparked by the plan of the anti-poverty secretary to use P 11.7 B of the coconut levy funds to corruption tainted projects of the Aquino administration.
Report from Anakpawis party list headquarters said at around 10:00 in the morning, hundreds of small coconut farmers from Southern Tagalog and Bicol provinces entered the NAPC compound. The police securing the area fired fire extinguisher at the rallyists. By 10:30 am, the rallyists held a peaceful program condemning the incident. By 11 am. Quezon City police armed with armalite under the command of Supt. Albano went to the protest area. The presence of gun-carrying police ensued another heated debate and led to another scuffle between the police and the protesters.
“The ambitious plan of NAPC chief Joel Rocamora to sneak out P 11.67 B of coco levy funds for the highly questionable projects of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III is the main reason why small coconut farmers trooped to the anti-poverty office to stop the ruling mafia in Malacanang from pursuing this first-rate plunder of the coco levy funds,” said Fernando Hicap, vice chairperson of Anakpawis party list.
The party list official issued the statement in response to Rocamora’s public statement charging Anakpawis party list and other peasant organizations of destroying public property in order to gain media mileage.
“Mr. Rocamora is a very irresponsible person. The issue here which he always evade is the public inquiry regarding the grand sinister plan of NAPC to partake more than 11 billion pesos of coconut levy funds for the government corruption checkered projects like the controversial Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) and other grossly anti-poor programs.
Malacanang and Mr. Rocamora are not facing the issues involving the coconut levy funds and have remained silent on the small coconut farmers’ inquiry fair and square. Please allow us to reiterate the real score. The coconut mafia in Malacanang and NAPC have set their sight on the promising billions of coco levy funds under their current disposal. nothing more, nothing less,” added Hicap.
Anakpawis party list and Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) are key organizers of the big rally to be held today and tomorrow which will be participated by 1,000 farmers from Bicol, Quezon, Aurora and Cagayan provinces led by the militant peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas and the claimants movement Coco Levy Funds Ibalik sa Amin (CLAIM).
The groups are opposing the P11.17 billion five-year “Poverty Reduction Roadmap of the Coconut Industry” that includes the corruption-ridden “conditional cash transfer (CCT) program, the “Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps),” and the failed Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPER).
Hicap said he learned from KMP and CLAIM that during the group’s dialogue with Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) the commission said the Php56.5 billion from the 27 percent from San Miguel Corp. is deposited in escrow by the PCGG at the Bureau of Treasury (BTr). The Php13.5 billion dividend earning is with the United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB) deposited as special drawing account (SDA) and earning 3.5% to 3.6% interest.
Anakpawis partylist is supporting the KMP and CLAIM campaign for the immediate cash distribution of the coco levy funds in the form of “social benefits to small coconut farmers, like pension, medical, and educational benefits, among others.