The Commission on Audit (COA) said that the Department of Education (DepEd) apparently bought “outdated and pricey” laptops in 2021. The computers are meant for teachers to be used on distance learning caused by the health crisis.
COA flagged the said transaction during its annual audit report for 2021. Apparently, the education department spent a total amount of Php2.4 billion on laptops through the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM-PS).
Since DepEd went with more expensive laptops, they only managed to procure fewer units than what was actually needed. COA said that over 28,000 teachers didn’t get to have the laptop benefit.
According to the auditors from the NCR and CAR, the delivered laptops from the winning bidder were too slow due to their outdated processors. Their pricing is also too high based on the specs attached to the memorandum of the DepEd.
COA said that the education department settled and agreed with the price and technical specs that’s been provided by the DBM-PS.
“Per available documents, the Audit Team could not ascertain the DBM-PS’ basis for adopting the unit price of P58,300. 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 P35,046 to P58,300 anchored on the DBM-PS’ recommendation, which was duly accepted by the DepEd,” COA said.
COA pointed out that the price per laptop is expensive for an entry-level machine. The commission said that there’s a huge difference of Php23,253 per unit price, which “resulted in a significant decrease by 28,917 laptop computers.”
The commission also added that the DBM-PS conducted a bidding last May 2021 for a midrange laptop, where they saw a cheaper option which costs only Php45,431 per unit.
COA added that the contract was awarded to the second-lowest bidder.
“Both the 1st and 2nd lowest calculated bidders had filed their Motion for Reconsideration but only the latter’s motion had been granted by the DBM-PS. However, the Declaration of Bid as Responsive and Recommending Award of Contract did not specify the reasons for granting the 2nd lowest calculated bidder’s motion,” COA said.
COA added that DepEd Central Office’s 2021 year-end financial statements reveal that there’s still an amount of Php2.4 billion that is yet to be liquidated as they are yet to submit supporting documents by the DBM-PS.
Now, the COA is asking DepEd for an explanation as to why it accepted the Php58,300/unit laptop deal despite the initial approved amount of Php35,000.
Update 08/05/22: The Department of Education has released its official statement regarding the issue. You can read it below:
Source: GMA News