PBBM to grace nat’l coconut tree-planting on PCA’s 50th year

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. is expected to grace the national coconut tree-planting ceremony on June 29 as part of the 50th anniversary festivities of the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA).

With the theme “Honoring the Past, Embracing the Future of the Coconut Industry,” the PCA’s golden anniversary celebration on June 30 shall recognize the accomplishments of the Authority during its first 50 years in moving the coconut industry forward, despite setbacks and challenges.

The celebration will also highlight the vast potential that the coconut industry still holds in driving economic development and uplifting the lives of coconut farmers in the country.

Despite recent years of stagnation and decline, the coconut industry remains to be a source of the country’s top dollar-earning exports, and the Philippines still ranks only second to Indonesia in global coconut production.

PCA administrator Bernie F. Cruz noted the President’s decision to personally lead the national coconut tree-planting ceremony confirms the importance of a revitalized coconut industry to his vision of agricultural development and modernization as a driver of economic growth and employment.

“As we communicated to the President, the ceremonial tree-planting shall not only mark our 50th founding anniversary but shall also represent the PCA currently planting the seeds for a resurgence in coconut production in the country, the impacts of which will be felt down the line during this Administration and beyond,” Cruz said in a news release on Thursday.

“With increased productivity, product diversification, and engaging our farmers in higher value-adding activities, we expect in the long run to reverse the trends of declining growth rate and share to GDP of the coconut industry, and significantly increase and even double coconut farmers’ incomes,” he added.

Created on June 30, 1973 by virtue of Presidential Decree 232, the PCA is the sole government agency tasked to develop the coconut industry to its full potential in line with the new vision of a united, globally competitive and efficient coconut industry.

It was made an independent public corporation by virtue of Presidential Decree 961, which first codified the laws dealing with the development of the coconut and other palm oil industry in the country, as subsequently revised by Presidential Decree 1468, known as the “Revised Coconut Industry Code,” which presently serves as the PCA Charter.

At present, the PCA’s core functions include improving the production and productivity of coconut farms; research and development, including market research and promotion of emerging high-value coconut products and by-products; infrastructure development, particularly of seed farms, research-based plantations, and post-harvest facilities; and institutional development of coconut farmers’ organizations and enterprises.

In 2021, a significant milestone in the coconut industry was reached with the enactment of Republic Act 11524, otherwise known as the “Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund Act.”

The law directed the transfer of an initial PHP75 billion in total of coconut levy funds to a trust fund which shall be used for the benefit of coconut farmers and the development of the coconut industry, in accordance with the Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Plan (CFIDP) prepared by the PCA.

Former President Rodrigo R. Duterte on June 2, 2022 issued Executive Order No. 172 approving the CFIDP, leading Plan implementation to commence at an auspicious moment just at the beginning of the administration of President Marcos, who has made a high priority of the development and modernization of the agriculture sector.

On Nov. 11, 2022, Marcos appointed Cruz as acting administrator and Chief Executive Officer of the PCA. He was subsequently declared the duly-elected administrator and CEO by the PCA Board on Dec. 12, 2022.

As concurrent Secretary of Agriculture, President Marcos himself chairs the PCA Board as represented by Senior Undersecretary Domingo F. Panganiban in an ex-officio capacity.

Cruz noted the significance of President Marcos gracing the 50th anniversary celebration of the Authority which was created under the administration of his father, the late former President Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr.

“In creating the PCA, former President Marcos saw the need to integrate and coordinate, in his words, the ‘then-diffuse efforts of the Government’ on promoting the accelerated growth of the coconut and other palm oil industry. Though we have accomplished much, in many ways we continue to face similar challenges, particularly now with the implementation of the CFIDP which involves 15 implementing agencies, including the PCA,” Cruz said.

“We believe that our now-President Marcos understands this, the need to further strengthen the convergence efforts of government in order to truly revitalize the coconut industry, which is why he has chosen to give this occasion of the 50th anniversary of the PCA such importance. We are honored and eager to welcome him in this momentous event,” he added. (PNA)