PHilMech uncovers P1.7 billion ‘overpriced’ tractor deal

·Contributor
·2 min read
PHilMech's executive director, Dionisio Alvindia, said that he's already seeking the legal opinion of the Department of Agriculture's legal service, and the Commission on Audit. (Photo: Getty Images)
PHilMech's executive director, Dionisio Alvindia, said that he's already seeking the legal opinion of the Department of Agriculture's legal service, and the Commission on Audit. (Photo: Getty Images)

The Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PHilMech) has found irregularities in the procurement of a total of 1,346 units of four-wheel farm tractors, purchased for P1.298 million each, totaling P1.737 billion.

Dionisio Alvindia, the current executive director of PHilMech, an attached agency of the Department of Agriculture (DA), said that he had already informed the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) of the irregularities he found on the former management’s procurement, under the 2021 Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF).

He also said that he has sought the opinion of the DA legal service and the Commission on Audit (COA) on the matter.

“The irregularities involved the purchase of 1,346 units of four-wheel tractors at P1.298 million each for a total of P1.737 billion,” Alvindia said in a statement.

“Because of the agency’s findings, PHilMech will not pay the contractors as we uncovered an overpriced for each four-wheel farm tractor,” he added.

Alvindia, who assumed the executive directorship of PHilMech in March this year, assured that despite the irregularities in the acquisition of the tractors, the agency will continue in its distribution of farm equipment under the RCEF Mechanization Program, and support for the Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Plan.

“Despite the uncovering of the irregularities involving the acquisition of 1,346 farm machines, the agency is sustaining the distribution of farm machines under the RCEF-Mechanization program and pushing other programs like support for the Coconut Farmers and Industry Development Plan (CFIDP) where PHilMech will have a major role in setting up common shared facilities for coconut farmers,” he said.

“We also assure that PHilMech will continue at the forefront of developing and commercializing farm technologies that will significantly help farmers and the disadvantaged groups in the country’s agriculture sector to cope with the challenges of globalized markets and climate change, among others,” Alvindia added.

Marvin Joseph Ang is a news and creative writer who follows developments on politics, democracy, and popular culture. He advocates for a free press and national democracy. Follow him on Twitter at @marvs30ang for latest news and updates. The views expressed are his own.

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