MANILA, Philippines - The Chamber is set to investigate Department of Agriculture (DA) officials in connection with the controversial P1.8 billion fertilizer scam.
This was followed by House Resolution (HR) 992 of the Makabayan bloc solons to conduct a thorough investigation by the Committees on Agriculture and Food and Good Government and Public Accountability on the procurement of the alleged overpriced fertilizers.
The resolution is based on a report that questioned the supply contract entered by the DA to buy fertilizers for the Rice Resiliency Program aimed at increasing rice production from 87% -93% before the end of 2020.
“The issue on the alleged overpriced fertilizer further raised suspicion because news reports stated that the winning bidder La Filipina, does not also have available stocks of urea fertilizers nor has it shown any bill of lading to prove that it had an incoming supply of urea fertilizers and yet it still bagged the contract, ”the resolution said.
According to lawmakers, April 28 the DA invited the bidding on the supply and delivery of 5.69M bags of urea fertilizers worth P5.69 billion. The DA has been bidding for 1.81 bags of urea fertilizers worth P1.8 billion or about P1,000 per bag of such fertilizers on the crops. It turns out that the total contract with the P1.8 billion fertilizers was "overpriced" by an estimated P271.66-M based on the statement by farmers in Nueva Ecija and Tarlac that the fertilizers claimed to be only P850 per bag.
It is also known that the price of urea fertilizer costs only P810 in Pangasinan, P830 in Tarlac and P840 in Nueva Ecija where the volume purchased can still be discounted. It is known that the DA under the stimulus program of All Today, Adequate Counter COVID-19 (ALPAS to COVID-19) has allocated P5.69 billion for the purchase of urea fertilizer.
Joseph Canlas, chairman of the Farmers' Alliance in Central Luzon, asked the Ombudsman to investigate the questionable supply contracts motu propio.