DepEd pinpoints PS-DBM for ‘pricey’ laptops

·Contributor
·2 min read
An elementary teacher records her voice, reading a story book as the education department copes with distance learning amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Navotas, Metro Manila, Philippines, September 16, 2020. In a statement, the Department of Education (DepEd) said that it is the Department of Budget and Management, not them, who should explain about the overpriced entry-level laptops given to teachers. (Photo: REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez)
An elementary teacher records her voice, reading a story book as the education department copes with distance learning amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Navotas, Metro Manila, Philippines, September 16, 2020. In a statement, the Department of Education (DepEd) said that it is the Department of Budget and Management, not them, who should explain about the overpriced entry-level laptops given to teachers. (Photo: REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez)

The Department of Education (DepEd) is passing the buck on the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) to explain the “overpriced” entry-level laptops given to teachers.

“The question on the price of the laptops can best be answered by the procurement service of the Department of Budget and management as the procuring entity for the units. The department only received laptops from PS-DBM,” the education department said in a statement on Saturday (Aug. 6).

The Commission on Audit (COA) flagged DepEd’s central office for its supposed purchase of a total of 39,583 entry-level laptops for public school teachers that amounted to P2.4 billion, too “pricey” for the laptop’s specifications.

According to the state auditors, the estimated cost of each laptop nearly doubled from DepEd’s original request, from P35,046.50 to P58,300, upon the recommendation of the PS-DBM which was then accepted by DepEd.

“The huge difference of P23,253.50 per unit price resulted in significant decrease by 28,917 laptop computers, purportedly for distribution to intended recipient-teachers which could have helped them in performing their tasks in the blended learning set-up. Consequently, an estimated 28,917 teachers were deprived of the possible benefits from the supposed provision of these laptops,” they added.

The price increase cut by nearly half the number of teacher-beneficiaries of this laptop nationwide, according to COA’s 2021 annual audit report.

“Apparently, the supposed number of laptops to be procured of 68,500 units was significantly reduced to 39,583 units, which was mainly due to the huge increase of estimated cost from P35,046.50, based on DepEd’s submitted and approved APR to P58,300 anchored on the DBM-PS recommendation, which was duly accepted by DepEd,” COA said.

COA found that these laptops have outdated Intel Celeron processors, which couldn’t even handle heavy online classes.

The education department said that it was already “taking steps” to satisfy the recommendations of COA in its report.

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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