All legal actions and the full force of the law will be taken against whoever is responsible for the unaccounted bags of fertilizers intended for farmer-beneficiaries in Negros Occidental’s Himamaylan City.
Himamaylan City Mayor Raymund Tongson, who created a fact finding team to investigate, also assured Himamaylanon farmers that he immediately acted to make sure the program that provides fertilizer assistance will go on amidst the reported fraud.
Tongson said he is looking forward to the report and recommendation of the fact-finding team he tasked to complete the investigation in 10 to 15 days, as well as that of the Philippine National Police (PNP) that is also conducting a parallel probe.
Tongson said the unaccounted fertilizers were not purchased using city funds. It was a component of a program of the Department of Agriculture (DA) regional and national offices.
According to the mayor, the said investigation by the fact finding team and the parallel investigation by the PNP show that the city government “is doing a full force investigation for us to really look into the situation if indeed there was fraud, and to enable us to pin down those responsible and to file charges against them.”
“I am assuring all Himamaylanons that all legal actions will be taken against him or her (responsible persons). This [DA] program will not be jeopardized since in a few days the fertilizers I ordered to replace the missing ones will arrive. We also did not use any local fund in purchasing the replacement. Funds for the replacement we sourced out personally. We will then resume distributing (fertilizers) to farmers,” the mayor said.
Under the DA’s program, some 10,000 bags of fertilizers were earmarked for distribution.
“This is a good program… we were doing fine, until this happened, but we were already 90 percent finished (with the program),” he said.
Tongson said that due to the huge number of assistance and development programs and projects being joined by the city government from various agencies and officials for Himamaylanons to avail, the city has been utilizing different warehouses to temporarily store arriving assistance in the form of materials and goods, such as fertilizers.
He said that when the city’s own gets congested, the city utilizes the (warehouse) of the West Visayas State University (WVSU) campus, while other materials are kept at the Mosser Corporation compound. The reported missing fertilizers were being stored at the latter.
The Mosser Corp. has been a partner of the Tongson administration in terms of livelihood programs, he said, and its large warehouse is easily accessible since it is just across the Himamaylan City Hall./WDJ