Tillers group wants farm scam resolved
Irregularities involved the purchase of 1,346 units of four-wheel farm tractors at P1.298 million each for a total of P1.737 billion
The Office of the President needs to intervene in the alleged P1.7-billion irregularities found in the procurement of farm tractors as any undue delay in the future distribution of machinery to farmers could affect their production.
“President Marcos and the Congress, who are currently deliberating on the Department of Agriculture’s 2023 budget, should immediately conduct parallel investigations,” Federation of Free Farmers chairperson Leonardo Montemayor said in an interview on Tuesday.
“Hopefully, this will not unduly delay future distribution of machinery to our rice farmers, especially that there are growing complaints about unsuitable and defective tractors and equipment. These, on top of the lack of support for Filipino manufacturers and fabricators, should be addressed,” he added.
In a press release on Monday, the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization said it has uncovered irregularities in the acquisition of 1,346 four-wheel tractors under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund-Mechanization Program funding for 2021.
The irregularities involved the purchase of 1,346 units of four-wheel farm tractors at P1.298 million each for a total of P1.737 billion. The agency also found that the price for each four-wheel farm tractor should have been set at a maximum of P1.2 million, reflecting an overprice.
“Because of the agency’s findings, PHilMech will not pay the contractors as we uncovered an overpriced for each four-wheel farm tractor,” PHilMech Executive Director and Scientist IV Dr. Dionisio Alvindia said.
PhilMech said it advised the Departments of Agriculture and Budget and Management, as well as the Commission on Audit to resolve the matter.
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