SAN MIGUEL, Bulacan, July 19 (PNA) — At least four farmers’ cooperatives in this province are appealing to the government to help them recover their shares from the sales of their imported rice from Thailand.
Officials of the Lambakin Agriculture Marketing Cooperative, Kalahi Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative, St. Christopher Multi-Purpose Cooperative, and Paliwasan Multi-Purpose Cooperative said they will ask for President Benigno S. Aquino III, through Presidential Assistant for Food Security and Agricultural Modernization Francis Pangilinan, to intervene in their behalf with their financial partner, All Asia Countertrade Inc., for the release of their profits from the sales of the imported rice that is equivalent to PhP8 million gross profit for each cooperative that was given a rice allocation to import 100,000 sacks each.
The rice importation was under the government’s minimum access volume program in 2014, and the program refers to the minimum volume of farm produce, such as rice, allowed to enter into the Philippines at reduced tariffs.
The chairpersons of the cooperatives, Soledad Tecson, Leonito Sacdalan, Florida de Guzman and Hermogenes Baltazar, respectively, chorused that up to now, their financial partner has yet to fully deliver to them their share in the sales of their imported rice that arrived sometimes in the first quarter of the year.
As the wet planting season for rice has now started, the farmers’ groups lamented that they badly needed financial help for their farm inputs.
De Guzman noted that their financial partner “wanted to transact with only one representative for all the cooperatives” and that they endorsed and assigned Eliseo Velasco to transact for and in behalf of the cooperatives in the rice importation.
Tecson explained that Velasco was their former chairman of the cooperative but in April this year, they withdrew their authority to him to transact business in behalf of their cooperative due to loss of confidence.
Up to now, the cooperative officials and members said that Velasco fails to fully deliver what is due them with the cooperative headed by Tecson not yet receiving a single cent from their share while the three other cooperatives received only around 20 percent of their shares.
Tecson also said that they have already provided All Asia Countertrade Inc. all necessary documents, including the certification from the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA), certifying that it recognizes her as the present chairman of the cooperative.
Serafin Manalili, provincial director of the National Food Authority (NFA) in Bulacan, has confirmed that Velasco was removed as chairperson of the cooperative, with Tecson replacing him.
On the other hand, a certification from the CDA regional office in Pampanga dated July 6, this year, certified that it recognizes Tecson as the present chairman of the cooperative.
Sacdalan said that they will ask Secretary Pangilinan to dig deeper into the transactions of Velasco with their financial partner and added that they already seek the help of the National Bureau of Investigation regarding their predicament.
“We are also willing to file necessary charges against our financial partner if it is proven that they did remiss in their duties in releasing our shares from the sales of our imported rice from Thailand as claimed by Velasco,” Sacdalan added. (PNA)