ICT, out-of-school youth programs hit by DepEd’s unspent P43B budget

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Education’s (DepEd) failure to utilize P42.98 billion from its 2015 budget affected its computerization and out-of-school youth programs, the Commission on Audit (COA) said in a report. 

The COA report released Monday, August 8, revealed that after several failure in bidding out procurement contracts, DepEd was not able to deliver 43,544 information and communication technology (ICT) packages worth P7.46 billion under its Computerization Program.

The ICT packages include computers, projectors, tablets, and solar power kits for Kindergarten pupils and students from Grades 1 to 6. 

According to COA, DepEd missed all its ICT delivery targets for 2015: 60% delivery by August 2015, 80% delivery by September 2015, and 100% delivery by October 2015. 

“As of December 31, 2015, 8 lots for the procurement of the aforementioned [DepEd Computerization Program] equipment are for awarding while the remaining lots are still undergoing post qualification process,” the Commission said.

Failure in bidding procurement contracts also affected the delivery of science and mathematics equipment and textbooks in 2015.

Science and mathematics equipment had a total allocation of P4.79 billion under DepEd’s 2014 and 2015 budgets. 

“The science and mathematics equipment, which was supposed to be delivered in April to May 2015…were only awarded to 4 suppliers from the period October 2015 to February 2016. Due to the delay in the procurement, the delivery…was moved to June-November 2016 or a gap of two school years,” COA said in the report.

Meanwhile, more than 81.62 million textbooks and instructional materials worth P2.41 billion did not reach Kindergarten to Grade 9 students enrolled in school year 2015 to 2016.

“As of December 31, 2015, 6.8 million copies were already bid out for Kindergarten and Grade 1 activity sheets, while bidding for the Grade 3 learning materials was declared a failed bidding. On the other hand, [those for] the Grades 8 and 9 are still undergoing pre-procurement while the remaining are still for conformance review and layouting,” COA said.

State auditors said DepEd also failed to spend P2.92 billion or 90% of its P3.67-billion allocation for the Abot Alam Program, which caters to 1,587,406 out-of-school youth in the country.

“Only 448,214 or 28% [of out-of-school-youth] have been enrolled. This is due to the inability of the Central Office to download the necessary funds to the division office for continuous implementation of the program,” the report noted. – Rappler.com