We mourn the passing of former Presidential Commission on Good Government (PCGG) Chair Haydee Yorac who, for many years, stood for the interest of the small coconut farmers and farm workers.
During Yorac’s term as PCGG Chair, the country’s small coconut farmers made historic inroads in their struggle to recover the coconut levy funds whose ownership is being contested by businessman Eduardo Cojuangco, Jr. and COCOFED. Ms. Yorac’s principled stance made her irreplaceable in the arduous court battle for the full recovery of the coconut levy funds. She never wavered in her stand that the coconut levy funds are public in character. Neither did she entertain any form of compromise agreement that would jeopardize the integrity of the funds.
Unfortunately, the current PCGG administration seems to be veering away from the legal position taken by the late Chair Yorac. Already, the small coconut farmers are strongly feeling Ms. Yorac’s absence; especially since another compromise agreement with Mr. Cojuangco on the coco levy issue is being promoted.
Ms. Yorac’s untimely demise should prod government to push for the full recovery of the funds in favor of the millions of impoverished small coconut farmers. The current PCGG leadership is morally and legally bound to follow the examples set by the late Chair Yorac and must immediately dismiss the proposals coming from the camp of Mr. Cojuangco to forge another compromise agreement on the ownership of the funds.
Ms. Yorac never abandoned the small coconut farmers until her last breath. Her successors in the PCGG are expected to do nothing less.
Philippine Peasant Institute