Another COA red flag: OWWA pins non-existent address, names official

August 18, 2021 - 9:10 PM
Cornejo St. OWWA COA
A "construction" or hardware shop at Cornejo St. in Pasay City listed as a supplier of pandemic-related materials to the Overseas Workers Welfare Association is non-existent, according to a 2020 COA report.

The address where Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) bought hygiene kits, sanitary napkins and thermal scanners amounting to almost P1 million turned out to be a residential street in Pasay.

According to the Commission on Audit‘s (COA) report, OWWA’s supplies aggregating to P969,920.00 were procured from MRCJP Construction Trading at 80 M Cornejo St., Malibay, Brgy. 161, Pasay City. 

But there was no hardware store or any shop found in the pinned location. COA also said it could not locate the construction company anywhere else.

In an interview with ABS-CBN TeleRadyo, OWWA administrator Hans Leo Cacdac said Deputy Administrator Faustino Sabarez III should be explaining the questionable expenses of the agency that came from his cash advance.

He added that Sabarez was OWWA’s head of operations from March to June 2020 during the enhanced community quarantine. 

“Hindi pa final ‘yung findings ng COA, binibigyan pa siya ng kaukulang panahon na mag-apela dito sa findings,” Cacdac said.

He noted that the agency received a “qualified opinion” for the 99.9% of the report they have submitted to the COA for the fiscal year 2020, but only the P1.2 million remains unliquidated.

After the controversy on the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation, Department of Health, and now on OWWA, the online community expressed its dismay over the perceived unnecessary use of public funds during a pandemic.

“Seeing all these COA reports and how gov’t officials LITERALLY cry about the audit, I mean… mahiya sana sa grassroots NGOs na nagtatrabaho on the most urgent and relevant needs on-ground while making sure everything is properly documented and up to third-party auditing standards,” an online user wrote.

“You’d think they’d be less sloppy with their corrupt tactics but then, they do have the protection of the president and his cronies, I imagine. So hey, saan po ang consequences,” another user said.

COA is constitutionally mandated to “promulgate accounting and auditing rules and regulations, including those for the prevention and disallowance of irregular, unnecessary, excessive, extravagant, or unconscionable expenditures, or uses of government funds and properties.”

It is tasked to ensure accountability of public resources and prevent unconscionable expenditures of government funds and properties.