LUCENA CITY, May 28 – The local government units (LGU) of Panukulan and Tagkawayan, Quezon received a total of Php34 million (Php17 million each) from the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) for the establishment of virgin coconut oil (VCO) processing facilities through a Ceremonial Transfer of Fund held on May 27, 2021 at the Farmer’s Hall, PCA Region IV, Brgy. Isabang, Lucena City.
The event is a kick-off of the Convergence in Coconut Farming Communities towards Sustainable Rural Project which intends to empower coconut farming communities and transform them into enterprising communities, generate jobs, and increase income through value-adding.
It was graced by various government officials and local chief executives including the Chairperson of the House Committee on Agriculture and Food and also Quezon 1st District Representative – Wilfrido Mark M. Enverga, Quezon 4th District Representative – Angeline “Helen” D.L. Tan, Quezon Governor Danilo Suarez’ Chief of Staff – Jenny Suarez-Lopez, Panukulan Mayor Alfred Rigor S. Mitra, Tagkawayan Mayor Luis Oscar T. Eleazar, Office of Senator Cynthia Villar Representative – Honeylet C. Familiaran, and PCA Administrator Benjamin R. Madrigal Jr., and PCA Region IV Manager Ramon L. Rivera.
In her message, Cong. Tan talked about the coconut farmers’ frustration on how will they be able to realize the old saying that coconut is a tree of life. She continued, “this time, nakita natin meron tayong mga convergence project na hindi matapos sa pagko-copra lamang ang ating mga magniniyog, kung hindi, gamitin pa ‘yong iba pang pwedeng produkto na made-develop natin out of coconut”.
She also underscored the need to put focus on research and development to help coconut farmers just like with VCO as she is one who advocates for the regular consumption of VCO to fight the corona virus. The doctor-politician further shared that with the ongoing study on VCO, coconut farmers can finally feel in the coming years that coconut is a tree of life.
On the other hand, Cong. Enverga mentioned about Republic Act No. 11524 or the Coconut Farmers and Industry Trust Fund Act and the current challenges as regards to compliance to the requirements associated with its passing such as the National Coconut Farmers Registry System (NCFRS) given the time constraints and the COVID-19 pandemic circumstance. Nevertheless, he is optimistic that with the help of everyone, materialization of the Trust Fund can be expedited to finally benefit the coconut farmers.
Meanwhile, Senator Villar expressed her commitment and support through a video message, while DTI-Quezon Provincial Director Julieta L. Tadiosa sent a written message of support for the project.