Monday 24 June 2024
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New law aims to boost the Philippine coffee industry

In a meeting presided over by Quezon Rep. Keith Micah "Atty. Mike" Tan, Kabayan Party-list Rep. Ron Salo moved to defer consideration of the substitute bill, which was drafted by the DA and DTI, pending the submission of some requirements by the resource persons

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MANILA, The Philippines – The House Committee on Agriculture and Food of the Republic of The Philippines, chaired by Quezon Rep. Wilfrido Enverga, on Monday suspended consideration of the draft substitute bill seeking to establish a national program for the development and promotion of the Philippine Coffee Industry.

In a meeting presided over by Quezon Rep. Keith Micah “Atty. Mike” Tan, Kabayan Party-list Rep. Ron Salo moved to defer consideration of the substitute bill, which was drafted by the DA and DTI, pending the submission of some requirements by the resource persons.

Among the salient features of the draft substitute bill are the 1) creation of the Philippine Coffee Council (PCC) for a focused and harmonized implementation of the Philippine Coffee Industry Roadmap, 2) creation of the Philippine Coffee Industry Development Program, 3) establishment of Coffee Centers of Excellence, 4) powers and functions of the PCC, 5) creation of the Coffee Program Management Office and its functions, 6) Regional Coffee Councils, 7) review of the roadmap, and 8) P50 million allocation from the Special Activities Fund of the President of the Republic of the Philippines.

Committee members raised questions about certain provisions in the substitute bill, while others sought the submission of the roadmap for the development of the coffee industry. Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo Marañon III said while the committee members are supportive of the proposal, they should be given the opportunity to see the roadmap for the coffee industry that was mentioned by Bureau of Plant Industry Project Development Officer IV Atty. Joycel Panlilio during the hearing.

“Perhaps we could see the roadmap. We want to be clarified what are the plans for the coffee industry and the direction it is taking. We want also to know where would the P2 billion, which is being proposed five years after the initial implementation of the law, would go,” he said. Additionally, Siquijor Rep. Zaldy Villa wanted to know if the P2-billion would be lent to coffee farmers and who would release the money.

Zamboanga Sibugay Rep. Wilter Palma questioned the need to create another council, the Philippine Coffee Council (PCC), which will be another layer of the bureaucracy. “Di ba existing na kayo, the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries? Why the need to create another council, perhaps (you) just expand the high value crops coverage,” he said.

Gimoka

While manifesting support for the development of the coffee industry, Mindoro Rep. Arnan Panaligan expressed doubt that the proposed budget for the law’s implementation will be given by the executive. “Based on our experience, we passed a lot of laws – the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act, the Organic Agriculture Act, and others. We put appropriations there, but in the end, it was the executive department that was being followed. Ang masusunod kung magkano ang ibibigay nila,” he said.

Rep. Tan recapped that previously during the initial deliberation on House Bills HBs 1796 and 3552, both seeking to create a national program for the coffee industry and provide funds therefor, representatives from the Department of Agriculture High Value Crops Development Program, Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development, Philippine Council for Agriculture and Fisheries, and the Philippine Coffee Alliance expressed their full support for the measures in order to harmonize government efforts and private sector initiatives to expedite the development of the coffee industry.

CIMBALI

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