PhilMech backtracks: No tractor overpricing

Alvindia likewise noted that the involved suppliers, which he did not disclose, will be penalized.

September 10, 2022

The Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization on Friday said the procurement of 1,346 four-wheel tractors under the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund-Mechanization Program last year was justifiable and corruption-free — opposing its earlier statement that there were irregularities in purchasing such farm equipment.

At a press conference on Friday, PhilMech Executive Director and Scientist IV Dr. Dionisio Alvindia backtracked from his initial position; earlier, he said the tractors were purchased at P1.298 million each, about P98,000 higher than the approved P1.2 million cost.

However, he said that the price difference was justified following the recommendation of the Bureau of Agricultural and Fisheries Engineering to add hydraulic ports to the tractors to maximize their use.

“The addition of the hydraulic ports was deemed necessary to allow the end-users of the farm tractors to do more tasks than the usual land preparation. The Bureau of Agricultural and Fisheries Engineering under the Department of Agriculture, to which PHilMech is also attached, recommended the addition of hydraulic ports to maximize the use of farm tractors,” Alvindia told reporters.

He added that what the current PhilMech management found irregular was the farm tractors purchased at a price unauthorized by the Department of Budget and Management.

“Since DBM only authorized a price of up to P1.2 million per farm tractor, I deemed it prudent not to release any payment to the suppliers and sought the position of the DBM, DA, and the Commission on Audit on the matter. The suppliers can also make money claims at the CoA, and I am not stopping them from doing that,” he added.

Alvindia likewise noted that the involved suppliers, which he did not disclose, will be penalized.

Despite the squabble, PhilMech said it will sustain the distribution of various farm machines at no cost to qualified beneficiaries under the RCEF-Mechanization Program.

From June 2020 to 31 August, PhilMech said it has completed the delivery of 20,100 units of various production technologies and postharvest facilities to 5,143 beneficiaries made up of farmers’ cooperatives and associations and local government units.

During the same period, a total of 20,586 units of various farm equipment were procured by the agency under the program, consisting of 11,198 units for land preparation, 2,612 units of crop establishment technologies, 6,369 units for harvesting and threshing technologies, 373 units of rice mills, and 34 units dryers.


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