‘Not right’ to call procurement of laptops ‘anomalous’ – DepEd
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Education (DepEd) said on Monday that it welcomed all inquiries into its purchase of laptops through the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM).
But it said in a statement: “DepEd believes that it is not right to declare that the contract was anomalous without a final report by COA [Commission on Audit], much less [without the] findings from the Ombudsman.”
The DepEd made that reaction after the Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives pushed for a congressional investigation of the issue through House Resolution No. 189.
The said it would submit itself to the process “as we commit to transparency and accountability — even if the issue only involves an Audit Observation Memorandum, which requires the submission of documents to the COA.”
The department bought each laptop for P58,300. Critics questioned the price, pointing out that laptops were running only Intel Celeron processors that were largely considered outdated.
The COA flagged this in its 2021 annual audit report.
The DepEd urged ACT-Teachers Rep. France Castro, one of the authors of the House resolution, to be “prudent in her pronouncements on this matter,” taking offense from her statement that teachers were “binabarat” – meaning, “getting shortchanged.”
“DepEd has always been proactive in promoting teachers’ welfare over the years,” the department said.
It cited its implementation of fundamental reforms, including the Salary Standardization Law of 2019, which assured teachers of an annual salary increase, and the Expanded Career Progression System for Public School Teachers.
According to the COA report, the DepEd’s Agency Procurement Request (APR) specified that each laptop should only cost P35,046, but the PS-DBM increased its worth to P58,300 — “which was duly accepted by the DepEd.”
Because of this, the number of intended laptop beneficiaries decreased from 68,500 to 39,583 public school teachers. That meant 28,917 teachers would have no laptops.
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