DA Secretary Pinol took to Facebook to share what he uncovered while visiting the DA Compound–rotting farm equipments left behind by the previous admin.
In his Facebook post, DA Secretary Manny Pinol lamented that “while many farmers in Mindanao have to be content with using the slow moving carabao to plow their rice fields, modern agriculture equipment worth over P100-M have been left under the elements in the 35-hectare compound of the Dept. of Agriculture in Tupi, South Cotabato.”
“Some of the equipment units were bought by the government as long as four years ago while the more expensive ones, including multi-million peso rice and corn harvesters and tractors are about a year old,” he rued.
Secretary Pinol wrote that he visited the compound on his way to Gen. Santos City from Koronadal City, South Cotabato where he and two other department secretaries – DILG Sec. Mike Sueno and Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana – were guests during the province’s foundation anniversary.
What I saw gave me a mixed feeling of anger and pity.
He said he felt his knees weakened as he toured the huge compound filled with agricultural equipment asking regional DA officials why the farm machineries have not been distributed to the farmers or farmers groups.
However, the DA Secretary quickly realized that he could not get an answer because the person who could have given him the answer, former DA Regional Director Amalia Datukan, was no longer there since right after his assumption as Secretary of Agriculture, he immediately relieved her.
“The OIC Director Carlene Collado who is manning the regional post until the appointment papers of the incoming Regional Director Milagros Casis are signed by President Rody Duterte, said that the machineries were not distributed because the farmers could not come up with a 15% cash equity which the DA required from them as their counterpart,” he wrote.
When he asked to whom should the 15% cash equity go to, Collado said it was supposed to go to the dealer of the equipment to complete the payment.
Collado told the DA Secretary that in the guidelines issued by former Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, the farmers or farmers group was supposed to shoulder 15% of the cost of the equipment with the DA paying for 85%.
The DA Secretary admitted that he could not understand why farmers would have to be asked to make the complete payment for machineries procured by the government.
“The government does not procure on installment or partial payment process,” Pinol revealed.
In his Facebook account, the DA Secretary made the announcement that effective today, July 17, 2016, he issued a directive to the Internal Audit Service, retired Phil. Marines Colonel Danny Luna, to come up with a report on this misuse of government funds and assets.
Likewise, he directed that the equipment be immediately rehabilitated, repaired and repainted and distributed to the farmers or local government units.
He will also ask lawyers of the department to study this case and determine the administrative and criminal liability of the officials behind the procurement and non-distribution of these machineries.
The DA Secretary holds the belief that keeping the equipment and machineries in the compound unused for a long period of time, the government was defrauded of the value of money it spent in buying the said equipment.
“Worse, farmers were also deprived of 1 to 4 years of increased productivity which could have been achieved had the equipment and machineries been released earlier,” Pinol wrote.
“Any which way, it is altogether wrong and immoral,” the DA Secretary concluded!
The Facebook post of the DA Secretary has gone viral 7 hours after he posted it. The post has generated more than 16,000 shares and 19,000 likes from netizens.
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Source: P.S. Please click the link for more photos from Sec. Manny Pinol