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Purchase of hygiene kits from hardware store 'still subject to liquidation, explanation' —OWWA chief

Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac on Tuesday said the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration's (OWWA) purchase of P1.269 million worth of hygiene products from a hardware store "is still subject to liquidation and explanation."

Cacdac made the remark on Twitter after 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.

"This is still subject to liquidation and explanation to COA by the concerned official. The findings in this isolated transaction (.001% of the P9B audited in the COA Unqualified Opinion) have not yet attained finality," Cacdac said in response to tweets questioning the agency’s purchase of napkins.

In a statement issued Wednesday, Cacdac said the COA finding "is not yet final."

COA, in its 2020 audit report of OWWA, 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 said establishment cannot be found at the address on the collection receipt.

Mocha not involved

Cacdac, meanwhile, also said OWWA Deputy Administrator Mocha Uson "is not involved" in the transaction.

The COA report did not identify the deputy administrator behind the purchases. Still, it urged the official to justify the transactions and show proof of the reasonableness of the items.

COA also urged the deputy administrator to submit an itemized list of the procured items with the unit prices indicated.

In his statement, Cacdac identified Deputy Administrator Faustino Sabarez III as the one who is "given a chance to explain his side and liquidate his cash advance."

According to Cacdac, Sabarez headed OWWA's ground operations at the height of the enhanced community quarantine in March to June last year.

At a virtual press briefing, the OWWA chief said that the agency is issuing Sabarez, within the day, a notice to explain .

“By next week, we will have a recommendation to [Labor] Secretary [Silvestre] Bello,” he said.

OWWA Trust Fund

Cacdac also said the P1.2 million mentioned by COA was not sourced from the OWWA Trust Fund but from the General Appropriations Act.

"It is also within the context of the COA external audit of OWWA's P8.9B expenditures for FY 2020, where OWWA received an Unqualified Opinion (highest standard) from the COA," he added.

Cacdac appealed to overseas Filipino workers and the public for "patience and understanding" amid the COA report. — with Ted Cordero/KBK/BM, GMA News

Tags: OWWA, COA, news