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COA to OWWA: Why buy hygiene kits from construction store?

State Auditors have asked the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to justify the purchase of hygiene products amounting to P1.269 million from a construction store and trading company.

In an audit report, the Commission on Audit (COA) flagged the procurement of hygiene kits, sanitary napkins and thermal scanners of an OWWA deputy administrator as doubtful since these were not procured from reputable drugstores and supermarkets.

“Out of the P2,011,441.90 covered by LR No. FM-OWWA 07-10.4, the propriety and regularity of the expenditures charged to the CA (cash advance) of the Deputy Administrator totaling P1,269,920 is doubtful due to the awarding of the procurement transactions not to reputable drugstores and supermarkets,” it said.

“This is an indication that OWWA’s resources were not expended in accordance with rules and regulations and is contrary to Section 2, PD No. 1145,” it added.
COA said that the agency paid P962,920 to procure the products from MRCJP Construction and Trading with a business address in Pasay City.

However, the agency said the establishment cannot be found at the address on the collection receipt.

“It is unlikely that these items were brought from a store which deals with construction supplies or hardware, considering that the Mercury drugstore is just around the vicinity of OWWA,” COA said.

The agency also noted that the hygiene kits that cost P160 were not itemized while the napkins were bought for P10 to P30 per pad, which it said was very costly than those bought from sari-sari stores at P5 to P8.

Meanwhile, COA said the thermal scanners cost P2,950 per unit while internet prices ranged from P400 to P800.

COA also noted the purchase of bottled water and snacks with a total cost of P300,000 from a caterer with a business address in Quezon City.

“These items are available in supermarkets/hypermarkets within the vicinity of Pasay City,” it said.

Due to this, COA urged the unnamed deputy administrator to justify the transactions as well as show proof of the reasonableness of the items.
The agency also urged the deputy administrator to submit an itemized list of the procured items with the unit prices indicated.

In a tweet, OWWA Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac said the purchase "is still subject to liquidation and explanation."

He also said COA's findings "in this isolated transaction (.001% of the P9B audited in the COA Unqualified Opinion) have not yet attained finality."


COA said that based on its audit of the various accounts of OWWA as of December 30, 2020, there were “misstatements and error” in the agency’s financial statements amounting to P20,724,161.89.

The said misstatements reflected in OWWA’s cash and cash equivalents, inventories, property plant and equipment, and liabilities.

The audit body said the misstatements affecting cash and other related accounts and transactions, which OWWA “failed to adjust in their books of accounts” affected the accuracy and balance in its financial statements.—LDF/KBK, GMA News