Leyte Samar Daily Express

TACLOBAN CITY — There was no scam on the implementation of the P728 million fertilizer program. At least in the region.

This was assured by Executive Regional Director Leo Cañeda of the Department of Agriculture who is set to appear before the Senate next week as it continues its investigation on the alleged highly anomalous fertilizer program initiated by former Agriculture Undersecretary Jocelyn “Joc Joc” Bolante.

Cañeda said the fertilizer program, which was implemented in 2004, benefited 11 local government units coming from the four provinces of the region, with the exception of Samar and Northern Samar provinces, considered to be bailiwick of the opposition.

These provinces and municipalities, all in all, received P44 million for the implementation of the program, the agriculture regional executive director said.

“Here in Eastern Visayas, the program was properly implemented in all the local government units preselected by our central office,” Cañeda said.

He insisted that all the items identified under the program were received by the identified local government units and these were inspected by their office.

The provinces and municipalities that benefited the fertilizer program that is now a focus of an intense Senate investigation were identified by their central office and that they were not consulted about it, Cañeda revealed.

“Our role here was only as a conduit. We don’t have any hand at all. These were all preselected by our central office,” the agriculture regional chief said.

“At my level, I was not given the liberty to determine which municipality or province that should be given the fertilizers,” Cañeda added.

But still, he maintained that there was no scam in the implementation of the program in these 11 provinces and municipalities identified for the program. Cañeda declined to identify the 11 beneficiaries.

Incidentally, all the provinces that were identified were considered to be pro-administration. The governors of Samar, Milagrosa Tan (who is now serving a 90-day suspension order), and Northern Samar, Raul Daza, were considered to belong to the opposition camp.

“And the fertilizers were delivered after the elections which was on the month of July,” he said, belying allegations that the fund was used to help the presidential campaign of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her allies in the region.

He described the delivered items to the local government units as “granule fertilizers.”

Senators investigating the controversy alleged that the P728 million fertilizer program was used during the 2004 elections and were implemented after the planting season.

Cañeda revealed that he received an invitation from Senator Allan Peter Cayetano, chairman on the blue ribbon committee, to appear on Tuesday as the said committee resumes its hearing on the fund scam.

“I just received the invitation, and it is not a summon,” Cañeda said.

By joey a. gabieta
Staff Writer

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  1. Why not suspend Gov. in Biliran Rogelio Espina for the said Scam on ferilizer,why is it only the Governor in Samar…
    These people should be in Jail not only being suspended..
    They are 2 Espina’s the Father of Gov. Rogelio Espina who should be suspended but luckily the old Espina did not won for the 2007 election..



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