By Liezle Basa Inigo
PANGASINAN – A farmers’ group in Central Luzon has demanded a thorough investigation of an allegedly overpriced fertilizer supply contract under the government’s response program to support farmers during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luzon (AMGL) Chairman Joseph Canlas said his group was seeking an investigation into the procurement of 1,811,090 bags of urea fertilizer, which was bidded out to be purchased at P1,000 per bag when the prevailing retail price was only P850.
As such, there could have been an overprice of about P271.66 million.
“This issue must go all the way to the heirachy of the Department of Agriculture (DA) so the Secretary can go to the bottom of this and discipline these officials. We have very limited funds for now because of the pandemic yet these people still dipped their hands into this fund,” Canlas said.
Farmers William Laureta of Tarlac and Ernesto Agustin of Nueva Ecija claimed that the anomalous purchase was part of the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) stimulus program “Ahon Lahat, Pagkaing Sapat Kontra COVID-19 (ALPAS sa COVID-19)”.
Laureta said it was ironic that DA approved a deal that was higher than the prevailing market price when it was supposed to go for the product with a cheaper price.