DepEd open to replacing teachers’ ‘outdated, pricey’ laptops
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Education (DepEd) on Wednesday said it is considering replacing the reportedly “outdated and pricey” laptops purchased last year for public school teachers.
Atty. Michael Poa, the spokesperson of DepEd, said if the P2.4-billion worth of laptops in question is proven to have not been of quality, they will either seek a “quick fix” or invoke the warranty provision of these gadgets.
“Tingnan natin kung mabagal talaga. Kung meron tayong quick fix within the department para matulungan iyong mga guro, gawin na natin. But that’s the first course of action,” he said during a joint presser with the Office of the Vice President.
(We’ll evaluate where the laptops are really slow, and if we come up with a quick fix within the department to help our teachers, we’ll do it. But that’s the first course of action.)
According to Poa, the DepEd will also pursue a legal course of action: “Kung talagang mabagal talaga iyong mga computer and not up to par with what we wanted, iyan pong mga computer, as far as I understand, ay covered pa rin ng warranty.”
(If the computers are really slow and not up to par with what we wanted, we should know that, as far as I understand, these computers are still covered by warranty.)
In coordination with the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) – who was responsible for purchasing the laptops, Poa said the DepEd would invoke the warranty clause under the contract with the supplier.
“Doon na natin pag-uusapan if may magagawa pa sila riyan or papalitan nalang iyong laptops ng supplier. But again, these are all legal remedies,” he added.
(That’s when we’ll talk about if the supplier can still do something about it or if they would replace the laptops instead. But again, these are all legal remedies.)
Poa also noted that the DepEd has sought for its 2023 budget to include provisions on giving teachers more learning materials, including gadgets.
Until the school year begins on August 22, he stressed the need to resolve the hounding complaints on the teachers’ laptops.
“Sa atin ngayon, kung maayos natin, ayusin kasi magpapasukan na. Ayusin natin, pero not without remedies in terms of iyong mga shortfall – kung meron man – noong supplier,” Poa said.
(Right now, if we can fix it then, we’ll fix it since classes will start again soon. But not without remedies regarding the supplier’s shortfalls, if any.)
In talks with COA, PS-DBM
Poa said the laptops, flagged by the Commission on Audit (COA) and priced at P58,300 per unit, used funds from the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act (Bayanihan 2) to assist teachers in the transition to online distance learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This was not an original program of the DepEd. Although, siyempre, gusto natin i-digitize iyong ating teachers noon because andiyan iyong COVID, maraming lockdown, remote iyong schooling. That was the purpose of the laptops,” he explained.
(This was not an original program of the DepEd. Although, we want to digitize school teaching methods since the COVID-19 pandemic triggered lockdowns and shifted to remote schooling.)
Poa then reiterated that the PS-DBM was responsible for procuring the laptops. Thus, DepEd awaits documentation from PS-DBM explaining the laptops’ quality and pricing to COA.
“Sinisigurado po namin sa inyo that the DepEd is now coordinating closely with the COA. We’re also coordinating closely with the new administration of PS-DBM para masagot natin iyong audit observation memorandum at mabigay natin iyong mga document na kinakailangan pa po ng COA,” he said.
(We assure you that the DepEd is now coordinating closely with the COA and the new administration of PS-DBM, so we can answer the audit observation memorandum and submit the additional documents needed by the COA.)
The Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives has since sought an investigation in aid of legislation into the purchased laptops for teachers – a move publicly welcomed by the DepEd.
But when asked about the rekindled call to abolish the PS-DBM in light of this controversy, Poa said the DepEd will “refrain from commenting at this point.”
Editor: JPV | Post edited: abc (4:06 p.m.)
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