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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

OWWA chief: Mocha Uson had no role in ₧1.2-M deal

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THE head of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) is awaiting the explanation of its ranking agency official on the P1.2-million purchase of various items for pandemic operations but clarified that controversial OWWA executive Mocha Uson is not in any way involved in the transaction.

In a statement on Wednesday, OWWA Administrator Hans Cacdac said the funds used for the purchase of P1.2 million worth of hygiene kits, food, and other supplies last year were not sourced from the  OWWA Trust Fund, but the General Appropriations Act or the national budget.

“The COA finding is not yet final. Deputy Administrator Faustino Sabarez III, who headed our ground operations at the height of Enhanced Community Quarantine or ECQ in March-June 2020, is given a chance to explain his side and liquidate his cash advance,” Cacdac said.

In its 2020 audit report, COA questioned OWWA’s purchase of hygiene kits, sanitary napkins, and thermal scanners amounting to P969,920 from MRCJP Construction and Trading, which cannot be found in the address stated in the Collection Receipt provided. Apart from this, bottled water and snack items worth P300,000 were also purchased from a caterer from Quezon City’s Barangay Old Balara even if there are several supermarkets in Pasay.

Nonetheless, Cacdac said they are currently undergoing the COA process of explaining the questioned operational expenditure.

He also stressed that the agency received an unqualified opinion or the highest standard from COA for its P8.9 billion expenditures under last year’s national budget.

“Per COA Unqualified Opinion, our people fulfilled their fiscal responsibilities 99.9 percent of the time in FY 2020, and so I am confident that we shall further abide by this auditing process,” he said.

“Lastly, I wish to emphasize that Deputy Administrator Mocha Uson is not, in any way, involved in this isolated transaction,” he added.

In a related development, Cacdac said they were already assured by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) that additional funds will be given to OWWA to cover the quarantine and accommodation expenses for returning OFWs.

Cacdac said Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello wrote the DBM to request for an additional P7.5 billion to augment their funds for the quarantine and accommodation expenses of the OFWs, which have grown given the extension of the quarantine period to 10 to 14 days from three days before.

“Besides that, we have been also, jointly with DFA [Department of Foreign Affairs], shouldering some of the repatriation flights to fly out our OFWs in various parts of the globe,” he said, partly in Filipino.

If their funds will not be augmented, Cacdac said this will be depleted by third week of September.

He said they got an “assurance from [DBM] OIC [Officer In Charge] Secretary Tina [Canda] that there will be a response from DBM. Funds will come from the national government. As early as now, we are grateful. Of course, all this is subject to the approval of the President,” he said.

     He added they are expecting around 95 more OFWs to be repatriated from Afghanistan after the Taliban seized power in that country on Sunday (August 15).

Read full article on BusinessMirror

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