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DepEd welcomes congressional probe on ‘overpriced’ laptops

August 9, 2022 Arlene Rivera 304 views

THE Department of Education (DepEd) welcomed the congressional probes regarding laptops procured by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) for public school teachers at the height of the pandemic.

DepEd said, “this matter needs to be resolved immediately” in a statement.

The DepEd made the reaction after Makabayan bloc lawmakers filed a House Resolution seeking a probe on DepEd’s 2021 laptop purchase for teachers costing P58,000 each as recommended by DBM rather than the laptop costing P35,000 each as provided under DepEd’s Agency Procurement Request.

“We submit to the process as we commit to transparency and accountability — even if the issue only involves an Audit Observation Memorandum, which requires the submission of documents to the Commission of Audit (COA).

However, DepEd has urged Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Representative France Castro to be “prudent” in her pronouncements on this matter.

They believe that it is not right to declare that the contract was anomalous without a final report by COA, much less findings from the Ombudsman,” the statement also said. “We also take exception to the statement that teachers are ‘binabarat’. DepEd has always been proactive in promoting teachers’ welfare over the years.”

“Rep. Castro should be reminded of the fundamental reforms that DepEd made under the administration of former President Rodrigo Duterte — including the Salary Standardization Law of 2019, which assured teachers of an annual salary increase; the Expanded Career Progression System for Public School Teachers, among others,” the statement added further.

According to the COA’s 2021 annual audit report, teachers’ laptops bought by the department for P2.4 billion through the PS-DBM were “pricey for an entry-level type laptop.”

The state auditors noted that purchasing overpriced laptops “adversely decreased the number of intended beneficiaries from 68,500 to 39,583 public school teachers.