Agriculture chief’s resignation sought
September 20, 2013
Manila, Philippines — A lawyer who exposed the P400 million overpriced rice importations yesterday called on President Benigno Aquino III to relieve Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala amid reports of continuing anomalous practices such as overpricing and the creation of artificial shortage to justify the costly rice importation.
Activist-lawyer Argee Guevarra urged President Aquino to revamp the Department of Agriculture and the National Food Authority “to put an end to the alleged malpractices” of its officials.
“It should start with Secretary Alcala, because he has failed his bosses and he has misreported to the President, “ Guevarra claimed.
Guevarra earlier exposed an alleged P400 million overprice in the rice importation contract entered into by the government with Vietnam, a portion of which was covered by the More Or Less at Supplier’s Option (MOLSO) provision.
Based on DA documents, the government purchased 205,700 metric tons from Vietnam in April, of which 18,700 metric tons were bought under the MOLSO provision, and without any prior approval from Department of Finance – Fiscal Incentive Review Board. The product was purchased at $459 or P19,762.95 per metric ton.
But Guevarra claimed the prevailing market price in Vietnam when the deal was made was only $360 per metric ton or P15,480.