Over three million pieces of textbooks and other learning materials intended for public schools nationwide remain unused in the warehouses of the Department of Education (DepEd), the Commission on Audit (COA) has said.
In its 2018 annual audit report on DepEd, the idle books and learning materials cost the government P113 million.
State auditors said that the unused 3,410,137 learning materials bought from 2014 to 2017 have been idle for so long that it may already fall under Irregular, Unnecessary, Excessive, Extravagant and Unconscionable expenditures.
Of the 3.4 million idle learning materials, 1.6 million were procured in 2015, 1.2 million in 2016, 440,591 in 2014 and 128,111 in 2017.
The percentage of issuances vis-a-vis total deliveries showed that out of the total accumulated buffer stocks procured in 2014 to 2016, only 15.77 per cent copies were pulled out and distributed to recipient schools in typhoon-stricken areas as replacement for lost and damaged learning resources.
COA said that the Asset Management Division and the Bureau of Learning Resources did not conduct actual physical inventory count of the total buffer stocks.
In addition, there was non-inclusion of deliveries in 2018 despite the existence of a large number of undistributed buffer stocks noted during the inspection.
As for DepEd’s safekeeping and inventory system of instructional materials, state auditors were far from impressed.
“The warehouses are in very poor condition. These are not well maintained, are dirty, and full of dust and spider webs. The warehouses are not well ventilated due to absence of exhaust fans or insulation materials that will prevent fire,” COA said.
State auditors also lamented that the DepEd warehouses for the learning materials are not properly lighted since the power supply/electricity was cut-off for non-payment of electric bill.
The ceilings and windows, on the other hand, are dilapidated, while the provision for security mechanism is inadequate.
COA also observed that there were only two security guards on duty and no DepEd personnel stays on the area for its upkeep.
“As per inquiry with the warehouseman, the piling, stacking, and pulling out of stocks are done manually due to lack of the proper tools and equipment,” COA said.
According to the COA report, the DepEd management has informed state auditors that it was in the process of releasing the idle books and learning materials.
COA tasked the DepEd management to explain the large number of learning materials procured that remain undistributed and stored in the five warehouses, as well as provide a justification on why these excessive buffer stocks do not merit the issuance of a Notice of Disallowance.
In addition, COA said the DepEd should revisit its guidelines on the procurement of instructional materials and consider the following:
- provision/allocation for buffer stocks on procurement/reprinting of textbooks
- study whether the buffer stocks for Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education should be reduced or be placed under the direct custody and control of the respective Division Offices
- strengthen internal controls through the provision on of specific guidelines and procedures, including responsible offices, officials and appropriate documentation for the following sub-systems on instructional materials inventory: Delivery of Inventory Items (receipt, inspection and reporting/recording); Requisition/Replenishment, Issuance and Disposal of Inventory Items (including reporting/recording); Monitoring and Inventory Taking; and c) provide for a suitable facility and thereafter ensure that the buffer stocks are properly stored in protected places/warehouses.
State auditors said that the DepEd management assured that it would revisit its existing guidelines on the procurement of instructional materials and evaluate the controls on buffer stocks. —NB, GMA News