DepEd to look into complaints on 'slow, outdated' laptops

Jaehwa Bernardo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 10 2022 01:34 PM | Updated as of Aug 10 2022 04:08 PM

 Department of Education Spokesperson Michael Poa discusses the Commission on Audit report that flagged the P2.4 billion worth of laptops procured by the agency through the Department of Budget and Management-Procurement Service. Screengrab
Department of Education Spokesperson Michael Poa discusses the Commission on Audit report that flagged the P2.4 billion worth of laptops procured by the agency through the Department of Budget and Management-Procurement Service. Screengrab

MANILA (UPDATE) — The Department of Education (DepEd) said Wednesday it would look into reports that the laptops procured to aid public school teachers in distance learning were "too slow."

"Mayroon namang listahan kung sino 'yong teachers na nabigyan, i-evaluate natin kong ano 'yong issues nila sa laptops," said spokesperson Michael Poa in a press conference.

(We have a list of teachers who were given the laptops. We will evaluate what their issues are with the laptops.)

If proven that the laptops are "slow" and "not up to par with what we wanted," the DepEd may invoke a "warranty provision," in which the laptops' specifications can be upgraded or the devices can be replaced, Poa said.

"What we will do is aside sa addressing the concerns of the teachers doon sa mabagal na computers, we will also, in coordination with PS-DBM, kasi sila 'yong buyer... we will invoke the warranty provision on their contract, dito sa supplier ng laptops," he explained.

(What we will do is aside sa addressing the concerns of the teachers with the slow computers, we will also, in coordination with PS-DBM because they are the buyer... we will invoke the warranty provision in our contract with the supplier of the laptops.)

Poa was referring to the Department of Budget and Management-Procurement Service (PS-DBM) that procured the laptops on behalf of DepEd.

In its 2021 audit report on DepEd, the Commission on Audit (COA) flagged the purchase of P2.4 billion worth of laptops.

The DepEd initially gave an estimate cost of P35,046 per laptop but later accepted the PS-DBM's pricing at P58,300, according to the COA report.

The higher price resulted in fewer beneficiaries, from 68,500 down to 39,583 public school teachers.

Based on the report, feedback gathered by state auditors in the National Capital Region and Cordillera Administrative Region found that the laptops were "too slow because the processor is Intel Celeron, which is outdated."

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Poa could not immediately answer why the previous DepEd administration accepted the PS-DBM's higher pricing of the laptops.

But the education department has asked the PS-DBM to submit documentation on the procurement.

"I'm sure when they did market survey or quotation, when they determined the bid price, backed up po iyan ng documentation kasi kailangan talaga natin 'yan sa procurement. On our side, we don't have those documents on hand," Poa said.

(I'm sure when they did market survey or quotation, when they determined the bid price, that's backed up with documentation because that's really needed in a procurement. On our side, we don't have those documents on hand.)

"When we get the documents, we'll see if there are gaps with the procurement process," he said.

Philippine schools shifted to distance learning at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic after government banned in-person classes due to the threat of the virus.

For School Year 2022-2023, which starts on Aug. 22, distance learning will still be allowed but only until Oct. 31. By November, all schools are required to shift to 5 days of in-person classes.

— With a report from Joyce Balancio, ABS-CBN News

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