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COA Asks Why OWWA Bought Sanitary Napkins From Construction Store

It wasn't Asec. Mocha Uson, OWWA says.
by Pia Regalado
Just now
Photo/s: Shutterstock

The Commission on Audit (COA) asked the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) why a deputy administrator bought sanitary napkins, hygiene kits, and thermal scanners worth almost P1 million from a construction store in 2020.

The official in the report is not Asec. Mocha Uson, administrator Hans Leo Cacdac said on Tuesday. Uson is a high profile supporter of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Cacdac called the incident "isolated", saying it accounted for 0.001% of the P9 billion that state auditors checked. OWWA received the highest COA rating in 2020.

"Rest assured, we are taking this matter seriously and an explanation is forthcoming, in the context of COA proceedings," he said on Twitter on Tuesday. He also denied that the deputy administrator mentioned in the report was Uson.

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State auditors questioned the procurement of hygiene kits, sanitary napkins, thermal scanners worth P969,920 from a construction and trading store in Pasay City in May 2020, pointing out that there's a Mercury Drugstore near OWWA's central office. It also said the establishment cannot be found on the address stated in the receipt.

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COA also noted the "costly" sanitary pads, which cost from P10 to P30 each, when it can be bought at sari-sari stores at P5 to P8 per pad. The deputy administrator also failed to itemize the hygiene kits worth P160 each.

It also bought 50 thermal scanners at P2,950 each, four times more expensive compared to internet prices ranging from P400 to P800, COA said.

State auditors also asked why OWWA purchased P300,000 worth of snacks and bottled water from a caterer in Quezon City, when these could be bought in several supermarkets and hypermarkets in Pasay City. It also failed to provide the unit prices of the procured items.

COA told the said deputy administrator to justify purchasing items from a construction and trading store in Pasay and a caterer in Quezon City, submit an itemized list of flagged items, show proof that the prices of procured items are reasonable, and submit report for all items.

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