By Stephanie Sevillano
MANILA – The Department of Education (DepEd) on Wednesday said it will look into the procurement of various digital single lens reflex cameras (DSLR) which were allegedly overpriced.
In a Viber message, DepEd spokesperson Michael Poa responded to queries after a photojournalist posted a comparison of a supposedly DepEd-purchase camera amounting to PHP155,929, significantly higher than the camera’s online price at PHP21,999.
“This one I’m having checked. I can’t determine what type of camera is the one with the DepEd sticker. In the Public Affairs Service here in Central Office, we don’t have entry-level cameras, mostly Mark IV. So, I will have to ask the regional offices if they have these entry-level cameras procured, as shown in the Lazada photo,” he said in mixed English and Filipino.
The said post, however, was deleted, but several tweets questioning other unreasonable quotations for entry-level DSLR were also posted.
These include a quotation for a proposal request for one mirrorless DSLR camera worth PHP170,000, dated September 2022 in Agusan del Norte province.
“Based on initial communication with Caraga, that particular procurement was canceled. Those cameras were initially intended for use in broadcast/livestream,” Poa said.
“Since the regional ICT was able to eventually provide three conference cameras, the procurement of said DSLRs was canceled,” he added.
The DepEd also ordered the regional office to provide the basis of the approved budget.
Poa said they would also look into around half a million worth of purchase of a DSLR and a camcorder amounting to PHP270,000 and PHP230,000, respectively.
“I’m having the cameras procured checked with the end-user unit,” he said, referring to a 2019 procurement record.
The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines, meanwhile, demanded an investigation into the allegations.
Earlier, Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte admitted several issues in centralized procurement have been reported within the department.
Hence, the move to create a strand that would solely focus on procurement processes with transparency.
“The procurement practices at the Department of Education had red flags that demanded immediate actions… This strand is ordered to ensure that the delivery of services is done within the period required by law, following the processes mandated by law,” she said.
Included in the issues cited were delays in technical specifications’ submission; lack of updated guidelines and bidders; low participation of prospective bidders; failure to deliver on time; and failure to deliver.
With these challenges acknowledged, the DepEd expressed its willingness to coordinate with other government agencies to improve its procurement processes and ensure accountability. (PNA)