TFMC told to ensure no ‘double-dipping’ for crop, health insurance coverage of coconut farmers

PhilStar Photo

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III has instructed the interagency Trust Fund Management Committee (TFMC), which is tasked to oversee the utilization of the coco levy trust fund, to ensure that there would be no “double-dipping” of resources in providing health and crop insurance coverage to the country’s estimated 2.5 million coconut farmers.

Dominguez, who chairs the current TFMC, said the next batch of members of this Committee should also ensure that the health and crop insurance coverage for coconut farmers, as provided under Republic Act 11524 or the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund (CFITF) Law are “commercially viable and therefore, sustainable.”

During the last TFMC meeting under the Duterte administration, Dominguez pointed out that under the CFITF Law and the Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Plan approved by the President, a minimum of P200 million is allocated every year to the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. (PCIC) for the crop insurance of coconut farmers.

Another P500 million is allocated to the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth) to administer the health and medical program for coconut farmers and their families.

“As the Trust Fund Management Committee, we need to ensure that there is no double-dipping of funds, that the crop and health insurance coverage to the coconut farmers should only come from the coco levy trust fund,” said Dominguez during the meeting held last June 16.

The Department of Budget and Management (DBM), represented at the meeting by Undersecretary Kim Robert De Leon, agreed with Dominguez and assured him that the DBM will be reviewing the budget proposals of PCIC and PhilHealth as well as the other government agencies receiving allocations from the CFITF “to ensure that no double dipping of funds would occur.”

Dominguez also said that as a way to make the crop insurance coverage for coconut farmers sustainable, the premiums to be charged by the PCIC should take into consideration specific geographical and meteorological risks, and should also include reinsurance mechanisms with the private sector “in order to reduce the financial burden on the coco levy trust fund.”

During the meeting, Dominguez also thanked the members of the TFMC for having made “a tremendous contribution to the final implementation and correction of the historical wrong that was done to the country’s coconut farmers.”

In the same meeting, the BTr also reported that the TFMC has received from the Land Bank of the Philippines (LANDBANK) the Certificate of Indebtedness with a principal amount of P1,121,141,234.00 with a fixed interest rate of 1.75 percent per annum for the sale of UCPB state shares.

The TFMC also received the P102,739,676.87 in cash proceeds for the sale of disputed UCPB shares and rights.

These shares were classified by the Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) as Coco Levy Assets under Republic Act (RA) No. 11524 or the CFITF Act.

The proceeds from the disputed shares will be credited to a separate escrow account pursuant to the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Section 9 to 11 of RA 11524, which states that a disputed Non-Cash Coco Levy Asset may be disposed of pending dispute, provided that the proceeds shall be deposited to and maintained in an escrow account.

The CFITF Law also provides that non-cash coco levy assets shall be privatized or disposed of and proceeds thereof shall augment the trust fund for the benefit of the coconut farmers.