The Department of Education is probing allegations its agency-issued laptops —already being criticized as being overpriced—are being sold in a surplus shop in Mandaue City, Cebu.
DepEd spokesperson Michael Poa said the regional education office is also conducting its own investigation after the department received flak for an audit that unveiled the overpriced devices.
“Specifically, they’re checking inventories if there’s anything missing,” Poa said at the sidelines of the National Children’s Month press conference.
DepEd is also checking who will be held liable if the sale of agency-issued laptops is proven true, “depending on if the one liable is an employee of DepEd or the supplier itself,” he said.
In the report by a Cebu-based daily, a laptop labeled under “Procurement of DCP Packages” was sold for P10,000 —72 percent lower than the DepEd’s P36,100 contract price for the same unit.
The unit had visible scraping marks where stickers would have been, and came with accessories that bore the DepEd’s “Sulong EduKalidad” sticker.
In its 2021 audit report on the DepEd, the Commission on Audit flagged the purchase of P2.4 billion worth of laptops, which were deemed overpriced and “too slow” because of “outdated” processors.
The DepEd initially gave an estimated cost of P35,046 per laptop, but later accepted the Procurement Service-Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM)’s pricing at P58,300, according to the COA report.
The higher price led to fewer beneficiary teachers for the laptops, from 68,500 down to 39,583.
State auditors in the National Capital Region and Cordillera Administrative Region also found through feedback that the laptops were “too slow because the processor is Intel Celeron, which is outdated.”
The department purchased the laptops for public school teachers to help them carry out distance learning, as in-person classes were banned due to the COVID-19 pandemic.