House probe sought on alleged misuse of ACEF

by RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 19 2014 03:44 PM | Updated as of Feb 20 2014 04:00 AM

MANILA (UPDATED) - Anakpawis Rep. Fernando Hicap has filed a resolution seeking an investigation into the alleged misuse of the Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ACEF).

The resolution reads: "The grants and loans availed of under the fund including the loan balances, interests gained from individual/ corporation/organization/cooperative which availed of the fund, and projects wherein the fund was utilized need to be scrutinized to determine whether the same has been used for the intended beneficiaries of the law."

Citing a document from the Department of Agriculture (DA) as of June 2013, he said ACEF assistance in the form of grants amounted to P2,576,020,918 while ACEF assistance in the form of loans amounted to P5,887,554,884.

The same document also revealed that under the category of loans for restructuring, there are 216 projects with ACEF-assistance amounting to P4,515,776.312.

Out of the 216 projects, 99 projects with assistance of P2,583,684,612 are without payment, 103 projects with assistance amounting to PI,769,242,552 are with payment of less than 50% of the total due and 14 projects with assistance amounting to 162,809,148 are with payment of more than 50% of the total due.

Hicap's resolution came after ABS-CBN's Investigative team recently exposed irregularities in the ACEF.

Last week, Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto also pushed for a probe on the anomalies surrounding the P12-billion Agricultural Competitive Enhancement Fund or ACEF.

Senate Resolution 495, which Recto authored, states the need to review the program and make sure that country’s farmers benefit from it.

Recto expressed dismay over reports of the Commission on Audit and the investigative team of ABS-CBN which show that there are anomalies in the distribution of the ACEF.

The ACEF, Recto said, is supposed to be used to help small-scale farmers and fishermen raise the volume of their products through loans and trainings, in a bid to make the country competitive by 2015.