DOF flags self-serving foreign consultants

Published May 19, 2022, 2:16 PM

by Chino S. Leyco

The Department of Finance has warned the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. (PCIC) as well as other government agencies to stop the practice of allowing foreign consultants to offer projects that only serve their personal interests rather than the interest of the government and Filipinos.

During a meeting of the PCIC board, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III warned against self-serving foreign consultants who prey on the farmers and the agency. Dominguez revealed that some projects offered by foreign consultants do not benefit the PCIC or other government agencies, but end up serving the consultants’ personal interests.

Dominguez said the PCIC, as well as other government offices, should stop the practice of allowing foreign consultants to offer projects that would serve their personal interests rather than the interests of the agencies. Dominguez, however, did not identify the other government agencies.

Instead, Dominguez said that projects supported by foreign grants and loans should be “demand-driven” and benefit the agency and the farmers it is tasked to serve.

In the future, Dominguez wants that the implementation and financing of projects should be determined by the PCIC board.

“We are the ones who determine what we need and we will be the one to select the funding,” said Dominguez, who chairs the PCIC Board. “So in the future, you will reject any approach that is not generated by this Board.”

He also suggested that all PCIC personnel be required to report any offers of foreign travel, vehicles, additional compensation, or other perks associated with implementing projects offered by consultants.

Agriculture Undersecretary Fermin Adriano agreed with Dominguez, and said this was among the reasons many projects do not proceed after the pilot stages of their implementation.

“There are so many pilots that have been done. The problem is really upscaling those pilots. And that’s the reason why we are stuck in this kind of, you know, underdeveloped status because we cannot upscale these things because it’s not demand-driven, as you said,” Adriano said.

Adriano represented Agriculture Secretary and PCIC Vice chairperson William Dar during the board meeting.

“That’s the problem. Mr. Chair. You’re right in your observation. It has to be demand-driven,” Adriano added.