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DFA CONTROVERSY

Passport deal being probed, says solon

/ 04:58 AM April 28, 2017

An investigation is ongoing in Malacañang into another alleged anomalous deal involving the P8-billion e-passport project after it was found that the contract for the project was subcontracted to another firm, according to a legislator belonging to a party-list group representing Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).

In a statement, Rep. Aniceto Bertiz III, of the party-list group ACTS OFWS, said investigation conducted by the House of Representatives showed that the subcontract given to United Graphic Expression Corp. (Ugec) was the cause of the delay in the printing of passports by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

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The subcontract was given to Ugec by APO Printing Unit (APO-PU), a quasi-government entity which was supposed to be in charge of passport printing through a 10-year contract.

In his statement, Bertiz said Ugec had only P800 million in assets and P200 million in cash with liabilities that raise questions on its capability of carrying out the P8-billion project.

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Ugec, he said, was created just recently during the administration of President Aquino. “There are people who benefited and pocketed the money,” he said in the statement.

Bertiz said protecting the integrity of passports was key to protecting OFWs, too.

In August last year, Malacañang had already started investigating Ugec’s alleged violation of its joint venture agreement with APO.

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