AN official of the Department of Agriculture (DA) on Monday confirmed the non-release of P6,600 fertilizer subsidy even after President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has approved the initial allocation of P4.1 billion in December 2022.
In a radio interview, Agriculture deputy spokesman Rex Estoperez said the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) refused to acknowledge Agriculture Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban as signatory.
“The DBP was supposed to release the funding. But Senior Undersecretary Panganiban has no authority to pave the way for the release of the P4.1 billion, so we are following it up with DBP,” Estoperez said.
Marcos is now in Davos, Switzerland attending the World Economic Forum.
“The authority should come from the President. We need a clearance from the President since we are talking of P4.1 billion, unless there is a signing authority, otherwise, we will be questioned by the CoA (Commission on Audit),” Estoperez said.
Farmers' group Samahang Industriya ng Agrikultura President Rosendo So has slammed the delay in the release of the P6,600 subsidy, saying it should be distributed while the planting is ongoing.
“We cannot understand the delay in the release of fertilizer subsidy as farmers have only 15 days to be able to use the fertilizers. After that, they can no longer use the fertilizer anymore,” So added.
So said that based on the feedback he received, regional offices were still awaiting for the go signal from the DA central office to distribute the fertilizer subsidy to the farmers.
“The funding is now in the regions, but they are still awaiting for the go signal from Senior Undersecretary Panganiban to start the distribution of the fertilizer subsidy,” So maintained.
“Yesterday, I talked to an official of Malacañang and told him what is going on at the DA central office as we cannot understand the delay in the distribution of fertilizer subsidy. The farmers cannot wait,” So added.
Under the P4.1 billion funding, the DA was supposed to provide 2.277 million bags of urea to the farmers as part of the government's effort to boost the country's local palay (unhusked rice) production.
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