MANILA — The new director of the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) on Sunday said that it will "fully cooperate" with the Commission on Audit (COA) over its findings and recommendations on the procurement of laptops for the Department of Education (DepEd).
COA had flagged DepEd for purchasing "outdated" and "pricey" laptops for teachers worth P2.4 billion, an issue that DepEd referred to the PS-DBM.
"I shall instruct a thorough examination of the cost of the items involved, as well as its technical specifications. Should the records prove that there are indeed instances of non-compliance with the law and procurement rules, rest assured that we will never tolerate it," PS-DBM director Dennis Santiago said.
"Malinaw po ang aming mandato: Siguruhin na transparent at competitive ang mga proseso sa PS-DBM, gawin ang nararapat na hakbang upang maiwasan ang iregularidad sa procurement, at siguraduhing maayos at matuwid ang pagbili para sa gobyerno. ‘Yan po ang aming susundin at pagtitibayin," Santiago added.
(Our mandate is clear: to ensure that PS-DBM's processes are transparent and competitive, to do the necessary steps to avoid procurement irregularities, and to ensure that purchases for the government are properly organized.)
DepEd had earlier tagged PS-DBM in the procurement of the laptops, as the department had only received them from the procurement body.
"The Department only received the laptops from PS-DBM," DepEd said in a statement.
"DepEd commits to working closely with the COA to ensure the continuous improvement of its services to the public."
The department's spokesperson Michael Poa had also said that they were waiting for COA's feedback after they submitted "documentary requirements" in relation to the purchase of the laptops.
The laptops were procured during the Duterte administration in 2021, and were set to be distributed to 68,500 personnel to help them adjust to online and blended learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
This was not the first time PS-DBM was involved in controversy.
The body was also tagged in multibillion-peso transactions with Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp and alleged mismanagement of COVID-19 response funds.
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