ACT slams late release of Cavite teachers’ gadgets
MANILA, Philippines — The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) on Sunday called out the Department of Education (DepEd) over the 12 to 19 months’ delay in the distribution last year of P53 million worth of electronic gadgets to Cavite public school teachers.
Citing a recent Commission on Audit (COA) report, ACT said “these lapses played a major reason why the state cannot break free from the learning crisis.”
In its 2022 audit report on Cavite province, the COA noted a “significant delay” in the DepEd division office’s submission of a purchase request, the posting of the procurement opportunity, and the distribution of the gadgets to public school teachers and personnel.
“The 350 laptop computers costing P17,430,000 and 4,148 tablets costing P36,494,104 which were procured by the province under the Special Education Fund (SEF) were only used and enjoyed by the teachers-intended recipients 12 to 19 months from the target completion of procurement,” it said.
It added that because of the delay, the “maximum benefits of the procurement were not achieved.”
ACT chair Vladimer Quetua said this was not the first time that DepEd was negligent in addressing the needs of teachers for materials.
“Because of this delay, the teachers were not able to benefit immediately from the supplies and equipment that would have been helpful for them. This was a big inconvenience especially since they failed to take advantage of having laptops [as] the school year was about to end,” he said.
Quetua said that in taking steps to deal with the learning crisis, DepEd must ensure that teachers were getting the required materials and equipment.
In its recommendations to the Cavite governor, the COA said the provincial administrator and bids and awards committee must take steps to ensure the timely submission of purchase requests.
It also advised DepEd to come up with control measures to ensure that items or equipment purchased by the province using the SEF would be distributed “within a reasonable time.”
Responding to the COA’s findings, the Cavite provincial government said it conducted a thorough evaluation of the technical specifications of gadgets requested by DepEd Cavite.
“The assessment was done… to ensure optimum efficiency of the IT equipment to be procured and in consideration of the prior publicized COA [audit observation memorandum] on DepEd’s ‘Overpriced Entry-Level Laptops’ in the mainstream media,” the provincial government said.
It was apparently referring to the agency’s controversial procurement of P2.4 billion worth of allegedly “outdated but pricey” laptops for teachers conducting online classes during the pandemic.
“Nevertheless, upon the instruction of the governor, we will continue to institute controls to further ensure timely procurement activities in accordance with the approved [Project Procurement Management Plan],” the Cavite government said.