Ex-workers push for probe on PhilMech reorganization

Former officials and employees of the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) called for an investigation into the “ongoing row” between the agency’s current chief and key officials.

In their open letter, the former officials and employees, including two former heads of PhilMech, expressed concern over the current state of affairs in the agency.

The employees said their concerns stemmed from the issues surrounding the procurement of tractors last year, which had alleged pricing issues (Related story: https://businessmirror.com.ph/2022/09/06/philmech-holds-%e2%82%a71-7-bpayment-for-tractorson-overpricing-issue/).

The open letter was signed by 26 former employees of PhilMech from administrative assistants to division chiefs and retired directors. Former PhilMech Directors Rex L. Bingabing and Raul R. Paz were among the signatories. The open letter was disseminated to the media recently.

“We were later glad when the media reported that Director IV [Dionisio G. Alvindia] retracted his statements in which such a misdeed was not done. Thus, we were dismayed when four PhilMech officials were placed on preventive suspension because of their participation in the said procurement which was earlier cleared of anomaly,” the letter read.

The former employees also expressed alarm over the relief of several key officials of PhilMech who were placed on “floating status.” These officials included division chiefs and were allegedly replaced by “junior staff.”

“Thus, 9 out of 11 Divisions (including the two Divisions vacated by the earlier resignation of 2 division chiefs) are presently run by acting chiefs,” they said.

“While we do not wish to malign the capability of any of these newly designated personnel, we do like to ask for clarity on what prompted such a drastic overhaul of the existing leadership structure of the agency.”

The former PhilMech employees called for an “immediate study” on the agency.

“This is not a partisan move to find fault that might further worsen a badly fractured organization,” they said.

“Rather, this pleading is for an objective action to ensure the continued viability and integrity of the agency to fulfill its strategic role in the country’s agricultural productivity and agri-based industries’ development.”

Alvindia told the BusinessMirror that the preventive suspension of some PhilMech officials and the subsequent replacement of heads of divisions are “above board.”

He said the officials who are on preventive suspension are facing administrative cases.

Three PhilMech officials are being investigated due to their involvement in the alleged procurement of overpriced tractors last year while four former division chiefs are currently on “floating stuatus” due to a different administrative case, he added.

“The division chiefs were replaced with qualified people who have PhDs,” he told the BusinessMirror on Sunday.

Alvindia said the reorganization at PhilMech was approved by the agency’s mother department, the Department of Agriculture.

He said Senior Agriculture Undersecretary Domingo F. Panganiban is aware of these developments. Alvindia said it was even Panganiban who replaced one of the high-ranking officials of PhilMech.

Nonetheless, Alvindia said he is open to the possible scrutiny of PhilMech.

“The replacement of people made the performance of PhilMech better; it became faster and more efficient. The former officials were the ones slowing down the procurement of machinery.”


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