Two days after the Commission on Audit (COA) flagged the agency for overpriced items and the non-existent address of the store, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration located the construction and trading store where they bought items amounting to P1 million.
The items in question were sanitary napkins, hygiene kits and thermal scanners.
“Sila ay lumipat sa isang lugar na parehong barangay (Malibay, Pasay City)… pero medyo mahirap din hanapin aaminin ko,” OWWA administrator Hans Cacdac said to GMA News.
Cacdac added that MRCJP Construction and Trading is a legitimate “trading and supply firm” and not a hardware store.
“The reason why may word na ‘construction’ is because in the past, mayroon din silang construction supplies… but it’s really trading and general merchandise,” he said.
Co-owner Joan Blanco said that her company had transacted with the OWWA on supplies and deliveries of hygiene kits.
The company, she said, sells a variety of products such as alcohol, thermal scanners, dispensers and office supplies.
Despite the updates, however, the online community still raised doubts over the transactions of the agency. Some demanded more evidence to prove the legitimacy of the company.
“SEC documents? Philgeps registry? Permit to operate? Aren’t these the logical things to check given a) all LGUs require these docs; b) do we really need photographic evidence of an address; and c) we still don’t know who owns this trading company?” an online user said.
The SEC refers to the Securities and Exchange Commission while PhilGEPS refer to the Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System.
“How come the [company] didn’t come forward as soon as they saw their name being dragged in the mess. Took them a while to set up their new office?” another user tweeted.
“Tanungin ang kapitbahay sa dating address. May nag-post na dati, kinausap ‘yung mga nasa paligid ng bahay, wala daw hardware at residential area ang lugar. Pwede pala ‘yun ‘no? Milyunan ang nakukuhang kontrata kahit maliit na negosyo? Wala bang accreditation process sa supplier?” another user claimed.
The OWWA was among the agencies that state auditors had flagged for its expenditures last year.
The P1-million worth of hygiene products and thermal scanners were previously reported to have been bought from a construction company that had a location pin of a residential street.