HIDDEN AGENDA By Mary Ann LL. Reyes (The Philippine Star) | Updated December 7, 2016

The National Printing Office Workers Association (Napowa) has recently asked President Duterte to put a stop to an alleged widespread corruption within the National Printing Office (NPO).

It is being claimed that printing job contracts are being awarded to favored printers and that since NPO assistant director Sherwin Prose Castañeda became bids and awards committee (BAC) head, no biddings have been conducted and that NPO operations have stopped because procurement, which is also under Castaneda’s control, has not been functioning efficiently.

They said a letter has been sent to both director Francisco Vales and Castañeda for an explanation, but no reply has been given.

The workers are alarmed by the scarcity of printing projects as this could cause the abolition of NPO. Napowa disclosed they have been printing only a few water district forms.

Napowa also asked Castañeda, who controls NPO’s finances, to reveal how much has been left of the P240 million left by the previous NPO administration, to no avail.

Recently, Castañeda informed the employees that he was able to get a P74-million contract to print the contribution payments forms of the Social Security System and that the NPO will print the forms in-house, when in fact, the contract has been given to four printers.

Napowa sources also revealed that Castañeda told all printers that he was the one calling the shots at the NPO and then introduced Rachel Bautista and Paul Candelaria, who have reportedly been asking P5 million in goodwill money from the printers.

They said that printing jobs which should be printed in-house were being awarded to favored printers by Castañeda.

Instead of confronting the issue squarely, Castañeda and the other BAC members resigned to divert the issue and instead accused Vales of pressuring Castañeda to renew the contract of Topbest Printing Corp., they said. But Vales has denied talking to the BAC.