MANILA- President Rodrigo Duterte said he would ask former Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol to explain the reported defective farm equipment handed out to local farmers.
Rice farmers from Eastern Visayas complained of faulty equipment from the Department of Agriculture, which they say could not be used.
Several offices of the National Food Authority meanwhile complained that they received mechanical rice dryers from the agriculture department which are not needed.
"I think we have to call Piñol to explain why they went into a buying spree for machinery that could not be used. Were there a sufficient knowledge beforehand na itong mga machine na ito would really fit what is required in the field?" Duterte told ABS-CBN News' Ted Failon in an exclusive interview.
Piñol served as Duterte's agriculture chief for 3 years before assuming the leadership of the Mindanao Development Authority earlier this year.
It can be recalled that critics called for Piñol's resignation last year after spikes in the prices of rice, vegetables, meat, fish and other food items pushed inflation to its fastest in almost a decade.
"I would like to call back [Piñol], he's still in Mindanao, he's doing his work there. He would explain to us why now it is developing into a kind of problem," Duterte said.
Duterte added that he has learned that the government was importing "so much" of the farm equipment but remained unaware of the status of the machines.
"The machinery seemed to be not in harmony with its users," Duterte said.
"It was only after sinubukan na ng mga tao, they began to discover the inadequacy or the failure of the machineries," he added.