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DepEd: Requirements addressing P2.4-B laptop purchase issue submitted to COA

The Department of Education (DepEd) on Thursday said it has already submitted the requirements needed by the Commission on Audit (COA) with regards to the P2.4 billion worth of “outdated and pricey” laptops it bought for teachers in 2021.

In a press conference, Atty. Michael Poa, spokesperson for the department, said they are “aware” that they received an audit observation memorandum (AOM) from COA in March 2022 pertaining to the laptops purchased through the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM-PS) for the implementation of distance learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now that they have forwarded the necessary documents on the matter, Poa said they are just waiting for feedback from COA. 

“On the part of the Department of Education, we have already submitted the documentary requirements that they asked from us and we are waiting for an update on that,” he said.

Poa also stressed that the AOM the DepEd received is not yet conclusive.

“‘Yung AOM naman po, finding lang yan, ano [the AOM is only a finding]. It doesn’t mean that it’s conclusive,” he said.

Based on COA’s annual audit report on DepEd for 2021, the purchase of the more expensive laptops than the ones on budget resulted in the procurement of fewer units, depriving over 28,000 teachers of the benefit.

COA also reported that the final amount of P58,000 per laptop unit is not advantageous to the DepEd, considering that the DBM-PS conducted a bidding for a mid-range type of laptop in May 2021 and found out that there is a cheaper option for buying laptop at P45,431 per unit.

Aside from the laptop issue, COA also said Deped’s spending of its P4.5-billion budget for the Basic Education Learning Continuity Plan from 2020 to 2022 has been marred by faulty procurement, delays, and inadequate supporting documents.

Answering to this, Poa said on Wednesday that the delays and other problems encountered by the agency were mainly due to the pandemic.

He also said the DepEd has yet to check the procurement issues that include failed bids, given that this happened under former DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones' watch.

The current Secretary of Education is Vice President Sara Duterte.  —KBK, GMA News