Senator questions deals with ‘delinquent’ fertilizer supplier

Senator questions deals with ‘favored but delinquent’ fertilizer supplier

/ 05:46 AM October 06, 2023

Sen. Raffy Tulfo

Sen. Raffy Tulfo —Senate PRIB photo

Sen. Raffy Tulfo pushed on Thursday for an investigation into the allegedly anomalous purchases made by the Department of Agriculture (DA), particularly its awarding of P230 million worth of contracts to “favored” but delinquent fertilizer suppliers.

At a briefing on the agency’s proposed 2024 budget, Tulfo urged the Senate committee on agriculture to conduct a “deeper probe” on why the DA had yet to blacklist Universal Harvester Inc. (UHI) and even allowed it to participate in other biddings through negotiated purchases despite its unfavorable record.


He raised the issue as the DA presented its proposed 2024 funding of P167.5 billion—over P9 billion more than its P157.8-billion budget this year.


Tulfo grilled DA officials for supposedly failing to sanction the Quezon City-based firm for not fulfilling its contract last year to supply the agency with 40,000 bags of fertilizers. Instead, UHI managed to deliver only 1,300 bags even after it sought an extension of the delivery period, he added.

“You are well aware that this supplier has repeatedly reneged on its obligations under the contracts so the least you could have done is to have it blacklisted,” Tulfo said.

According to the senator, UHI had been winning supply contracts in Central Luzon, Calabarzon and Zamboanga Peninsula up to 2022. It also supposedly barred DA inspectors from checking its warehouse for the availability of fertilizer stocks.

“But adding insult to injury, this supplier has managed to participate in other biddings for the supply of fertilizers in other regions and win every time,” Tulfo said.

The acting DA regional director for Zamboanga Peninsula, Reynaldo Campomanes, maintained that UHI won through public bidding, not a negotiated contract as alleged by the senator.

Pressed to answer why the agency did not blacklist UHI, Campomanes said he had just been assigned to the region while the questioned transactions happened before his appointment.


The budget briefing was interrupted when Tulfo castigated Agriculture Undersecretary for policy, planning and regulations Mercedita Sombilla for supposedly making faces while he was questioning other DA officials on some of the agency’s controversial programs.

“Don’t do that, you’re being disrespectful. If you want, I will thrust you into the spotlight so you can be made to answer all these questions,” he told Sombilla.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

“We’re talking about the plight of the farmers here, and while your colleagues cannot even answer these questions on the issues of corruption, you seem to be making fun of these proceedings,” Tulfo said.

TAGS: agri, DA, Fertilizer, Raffy Tulfo

© Copyright 1997-2024 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.