COA flags unused brand new gadgets DICT procured worth P93 million

·Contributor
·2 min read
A kindergarten student attends his online class at his home in Manila, Philippines on October 7, 2020. Recently, Commission on Audit (COA) flagged the Department of Information and Communication Technology for undistributed gadgets worth P93 million which could've been used by students and teachers for distance learning. (Photo by Lisa Marie David/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
A kindergarten student attends his online class at his home in Manila, Philippines on October 7, 2020. Recently, Commission on Audit (COA) flagged the Department of Information and Communication Technology for undistributed gadgets worth P93 million which could've been used by students and teachers for distance learning. (Photo by Lisa Marie David/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The Commission on Audit (COA) revealed that the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) purchased thousands of gadgets such as laptops and tablets some of which remain undistributed and unused to this day.

“Management failed to identify beneficiaries for the CLE Project prior to the acquisition of laptops and tablets, resulting in the low rate of distribution,” COA said.

In its 2021 audit report of the DICT made publicly available recently, some of the gadgets the DICT purchased for its Cybersafe Learning for Education (CLE) program – a total of 866 laptops and 12,482 tablets – have been stuck unused in the DICT for the past four to 17 months, and that these might become obsolete if not distributed to students and teachers soon.

Under the CLE, DICT procured 10,250 laptops at P32,200 each, and 41,500 tablets with prices ranging from P4,950 to P5,400 each. The total amount of the undistributed gadgets are worth P92.969 million.

“The PMO [Project Management Officer] of the CLE explained that some of the ICT devices on hand were already allocated to several beneficiaries but not yet released due to deficiency in complying with the requirements of the Department,” COA said.

Aside from this, also part of the problem was that these gadgets procured – all brand new – and remained with the DICT had no specific beneficiaries, while others can’t comply with the requirements such as a designated contact person and individual evaluations of beneficiaries for eligibility purposes.

“Without initially identifying actual beneficiaries, the procured units may be more than the recipients, resulting to oversupply and overstocking,” COA pointed out.

The phase one of the CLE program was piloted in select schools in San Juan and Makati but they found that laptops are more preferred to use for distance learning than tablets, since tablets have very limited storage and software capacity.

Marvin Joseph Ang is a news and creative writer who follows developments on politics, democracy, and popular culture. He advocates for a free press and national democracy. Follow him on Twitter at @marvs30ang for latest news and updates.

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