‘Huwag na lang tayong kumain ng onion’: Villar chides FTI execs over onion purchase
MANILA, Philippiens — “Huwag na lang tayong kumain ng onion,” an exasperated Senator Cynthia Villar said Monday during a Senate hearing on the soaring prices of onions in the country.
Presiding over the Senate committee hearing on agriculture, Villar confronted officials of state-owned Food Terminal Inc. (FTI) for buying onions at P500 plus per kilo when the price had already dropped to P250 per kilo last year.
FTI and the Department of Agriculture officials have already been summoned by the Office of the Ombudsman in connection with the P140 million worth of onions bought from a Nueva Ecija cooperative at P537 per kilogram.
READ: Ombudsman summons DA, FTI execs over onion purchase
FTI President Robert Tan first explained that during a meeting last December 20, there was a discussion on how to stabilize the price of onions and that the P140 million fund would be downloaded to them.
“Walang presyong pinag-usapan po dun, wala,” Tan said.
(There was no discussion about the price [of onions])
His disclosure, however, that he was on leave during that time angered Villar.
“Kami ba namang senador sasabihan mo ng ganyan? Nag-leave ka, hindi ka pumirma. Huwag mo kaming sasabihan ng ganyan…” said the senator.
(You’re telling that to us, senators? That you took leave, that you did not sign? Don’t tell us that.)
“Dyosko naman, lumang story na ‘yun, Dyosko. Hindi naman kami ganun kabobo. Accept the responsibility that you bought P500 when there are available na P200 something.”
(My God, that’s an old story. We’re not that stupid. Accept the responsibility that you bought P500 [a kilo] when there are available na P200 something)
READ: Department of ‘Importation’? Cynthia Villar flags DA’s importation policy anew
“Bakit hindi ‘nyo accept ang responsibility? Bakit ‘nyo kami re-reasonan ng ganyan eh hindi naman kami nabuhay sa ibang generation. Kami naman ay marunong naman kami, kaya kami naging senador, marunong kami.”
(Who don’t you accept the responsibility? Why do you give us such a reason when we were not born in a different generation? We are knowledgeable. That’s why we became senators. We are knowledgeable.)
Villar said she was so disappointed that she did not want to conduct any investigation since nothing comes out from their probes anyway.
“Huwag ‘nyo naman kamin gaganunin…parang ang tingin ‘nyo sa amin tatanga-tanga kami dito na re-reasonan mo kami ng ganyan. Huwag mo kaming re-reasonan ng ganyan. Hindi kami tanga,” the senator continued.
(You think we’re stupid that you would reason out like that. We’re not stupid.)
READ: 22,000 MT of imported onions may arrive in PH this month – DA
According to Villar, the FTI should have bought cheaper onions so they could sell them at a lower price in the market.
“Kaya ka pinabibili para magmura sa market ‘di ba? Ang government parang s’ya ang bibili para magmura sa market, eh kung bibilhin mo din ng ganun kamahal, eh what will be your service to the market? Huwag na lang tayong kumain ng onion. Ako hindi na nakain ng onion eh,” Villar said.
(You were asked to buy so the price would decrease in the market, right? The government, practically, buys so the price in the market will become low, but if you also bought it at such a high price, then what will be your service to the market? Let’s not eat onion. I am no longer eating onion.)
READ: What we know so far about ‘out of control’ rise in onion prices
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