Caterer ‘financially’ able to supply meals, Casas says

CEBU City Administrator Floro Casas Jr. on Friday, Sept. 10, 2021, defended catering services provider M&R Food Services, saying it is “legally and financially capable” of supplying packed meals to the City Government.

Casas shifted the burden of proof to radio commentator Arturo Barrit, who had filed a complaint before the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) over the contract awarded to M&R.

Barrit had questioned the transactions with M&R amounting to P19.5 million as he pointed out that the caterer had a capitalization of only P50,000.

“I don’t know what he (Barrit) meant by the (M&R Food Service’s) capitalization is only P50,000, can he present a document?” Casas said.

He said the business permit and income tax return (ITR) submitted by M&R Food Services to City Hall showed that it had P2.1 million.

Casas said this was enough basis for them to conclude that the food caterer is financially capable.

He said service providers have to prove first that they are financially capable before they are awarded any contract with the City.

Casas provided the media a copy of the purchase orders (PO) placed with M&R Food Services.

Ten POs for packed meals worth P100 each, with a total value of P17.3 million, have been fulfilled by the caterer since 2020, as follows:

June 18, 2020 – 11,933 packed meals worth P1.2 million

June 29, 2020 – 7,000 packed meals worth P700,000

July 8, 2020 – 10,500 packed meals for P1 million

July 17, 2020 – 9,100 packed meals for P910,000

Dec. 23, 2020 – 50,140 packed meals for P5 million

Jan. 28, 2021 – 54,363 packed meals for P5.4 million

March 23, 2021 – 17,896 packed meals for P1.8 million

April 5, 2021 – 4,160 packed meals and snacks for P562,480

June 29, 2021 – 3,150 packed meals for P315,000

July 12, 2021 – 1,711 packed meals and snacks for P285,097

These packed meals were distributed to the medical frontliners in the City-managed isolation facilities, quarantine facilities and hospitals as well as to the police personnel manning the checkpoints, and coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) patients staying in quarantine facilities.

Casas said the M&R Food Services is merely one of the 10 food suppliers from which the City has purchased packed meals.

He also noted that it’s one of the few caterers who agreed to deliver the packed meals before payment is made.

“The others would not deliver until payment is made. But it takes time for us to process the check payments,” Casas said.

The funds used for the packed meals comes from the first supplemental budget in 2020 and in 2021 under the Department of Social Welfare and Services (DSWS) and City Health Department (CHD).

Casas earlier said the City has been careful in all of its transactions and has followed the proper procurement processes.

“We are running City Hall by the book,” he said.

In his complaint, Barrit alleged that the City Hall “favored” the M&R Food Services despite its small capitalization.(JJL)