News & Events

Villar to probe fertilizer deal

By  Javier J. Ismael


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SEN. Cynthia Villar on Monday said she would call for a Senate inquiry on the alleged overpriced fertilizer contract of the Department of Agriculture (DA).


“I will look into the issue, but I have to file a Senate resolution first in order to schedule an inquiry or investigation. Congress is in recess right now and will resume in the third week of July. So, I would have to wait till then,” said Villar, chairman of the Senate Agriculture, Food and Agrarian Reform committee.

The senator vowed to “look at all the sides to this issue.”

“We have to ensure that the funds made available by the government to help our countrymen cope with the ongoing pandemic are being used for their intended purpose and beneficiaries, particularly the farmers,” she stressed

Earlier, an umbrella group of agricultural stakeholders asked the Senate to investigate the allegedly overpriced P1.8-billion fertilizer deal funded under an emergency stimulus program meant to minimize the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) andemic on farmers.

Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura (Sinag) Chairman Rosendo So said the farmers complained that the DA supply contract for urea fertilizer was grossly disadvantageous to the government because the price per bag was higher than the average retail price of P850
The Agriculture department has allocated P5.69 billion for the procurement of urea fertilizer at P1,000 per bag under its stimulus program Ahon Lahat, Pagkaing Sapat Kontra Covid-19.

“A negotiated bidding should even be lower than retail price, mas mababa pa dapat ito sa P850 per bag (this should be lower that the P850 per bag),” So said.

Fertilizer bought by farmers themselves fetch for only P830 to P850 per bag,” he added.
Sinag added that the DA was in a position to negotiate for a cheaper price because it was dealing with importers that handle bulk orders.

So said Villar was among those who alerted his group on the bidding for urea fertilizer
Sinag, in a letter to Agriculture Secretary William Dar, said the alleged overpriced contracts defeated the purpose of centralizing the bidding process that was meant to cut avenues for corruption in the department.

However, the Agriculture department maintained that the fertilizer deal was aboveboard.
The DA Bids and Awards Committee said the fertilizer was procured “at a price lower than the national average retail prices.”

Dar earlier stressed that the prices “were cheaper compared to previous purchases.”
“Hence, at less than P1,000 per 50 kilo, we are already saving a lot for the government,” he said.

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