DA secretary’s silence on P 455-M ‘mysterious’

LEADERS of a militant fishermen’s group yesterday decribed the silence of Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala on the P 455-million ice making machine scandal extremely “mysterious” and “mind-boggling.”

The fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said they are puzzled why Alcala would choose to be silent instead of doing something about the questionable purchase of 98 ice-making machines by the Department of Agriculture (DA).

In a press statement, Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap and Pamalakaya and vice chairperson Salvador France said Alcala should conduct a honest-to-goodness inventory of the equipment, which were allegedly overpriced by P 2.3 million per unit.

“If our memories serve us right, the issue of the P 455-million ice making machine was brought to the attention of Secretary Alcala last July of this year, two weeks after his appointment as the new secretary of agriculture department. But Secretary Alcala never addressed the issue,” Hicap and France said in a joint statement.

“Secretary Alcala did not initiate the investigation on the P455-million ice-making machine scam.  He is treating this issue so terribly. The first thing to do Mr. Secretary is get at the bottom of the controversy that includes highly irregular bidding process, overpricing, price manipulation, and anomalous contract,” the Pamalakaya leaders said.   D’Jay Lazaro

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