Guam - In the past two weeks, farmers have seen hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants and appropriations singled out to compensate for crop damages from the recent heavy rains. However it appears the Department of Agriculture has come across some problems in processing the claims as more than half of them have come in from farmers who are lacking receipts.
"Because we're trying to pay everybody at one time, but apparently and unfortunately we can't do that because there's still so many documents that are lacking, no receipts from the farmers, no affidavit whatsoever," noted director Tita Taitague. She says it would be illegal for the government to pay claims without receipts. She further addresses criticism from oversight chair Senator Rory Respicio who demanded her immediate action on assisting farmers and the amount of confusion and contradiction he says is occurring. Taitague says despite some allegations, the department is honoring affidavits but only those with proper documentation and that the 50% compensation to the Crop Damages Program is because of a formula done in concurrence with UOG.
"As a I farmer, I feel it's okay because the government is not giving out all freebees and the farmers should know that everyone needs help and it's not only the farmers and it was a formula that was established previously," she explained.
Taitague adds the department is extending the period for farmers to make their claims with receipts by December 10. She adds by law, the department can begin paying grants to farmers from the legislative appropriation after this initial period ends allowing farmers to make claims up to January 11.