COA-flagged DepEd wants donations, bigger budget for 2023

·2 min read
Licensed teachers wearing protective masks answer calls to assist students online at the Tele-Aral Center in Taguig City, the Philippines, Sept. 15, 2021. The Department of Education (DepEd) is seeking a higher budget of P848 billion for 2023 and donations of school despite getting flag by the Commission on Audit (COA) for the purchase of laptop with old processors worth P2.4 billion. (Photo by Rouelle Umali/Xinhua via Getty Images)
Licensed teachers wearing protective masks answer calls to assist students online at the Tele-Aral Center in Taguig City, the Philippines, Sept. 15, 2021. The Department of Education (DepEd) is seeking a higher budget of P848 billion for 2023 and donations of school despite getting flag by the Commission on Audit (COA) for the purchase of laptop with old processors worth P2.4 billion. (Photo by Rouelle Umali/Xinhua via Getty Images)

Despite being recently flagged by the Commission on Audit (COA) for the purchase of laptops with old processors worth P2.4 billion, the Department of Education (DepEd) now seeks donations of school supplies and a higher budget of P848 billion for 2023.

“We’re standing firm on our budget proposal kasi kailangan po natin ’yan (because we need it) so we’re making our arguments in the Congress when the time comes,” DepEd spokesperson Michael Poa said on Thursday (August 4). “But we’re also appealing to the DBM [Department of Budget and Management] to allow us to have the entire P848 billion.”

DepEd budget for the current year is P631.77 billion.

Despite the bigger budget request, DepEd appealed to the private sector to donate school supplies through the Brigada Eskwela program as the opening of the school year approaches.

"We are hoping with the Brigada Eskwela, matulungan tayo ng private sector organizations or donors or volunteers para makapagbigay ng kits, lalong-lalo na sa learners natin na wala talagang perang pambili ng school supplies (that private sector organizations or donors or volunteers can give kits, especially for our learners that do not have the funds to buy school supplies)," Poa said.

This comes after COA flagged the agency for buying laptops with entry-level processing units worth P2.4 billion as seen in their annual audit report published last Friday (July 29) – which deprived around 28,917 teachers of supposed benefits from the provision of laptops.

“Apparently, the supposed number of laptops to be procured of 68,500 units was significantly reduced to 39,583 units which were mainly due to the huge increase of estimated cost from P35,046.50, based on DepEd’s submitted and approved APR, to P58,300.00 anchored on the DBM-PS’s recommendation, which was duly accepted by the DepEd,” COA reported.

Mark Ernest Famatigan is a news writer who focuses on Philippine politics. He is an advocate for press freedom and regularly follows developments in the Philippine economy. The views expressed are his own.

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