By Stephanie Sevillano

MANILA November 23, 2022 (PNA) – Instead of focusing on branding, the Department of Education (DepEd) urged potential suppliers to offer only higher-quality laptops that would benefit teachers and learners.

QUALITY OVER BRANDING. DepEd Undersecretary Kris Ablan (middle) leads the Department of Education Computerization Program (DCP) suppliers forum in Oranbo Elementary School on Tuesday (Nov. 23, 2022). Ablan insisted that potential suppliers must prioritize ensuring good quality laptops for learners and teachers, instead of branding. (Photo courtesy: DepEd Philippines)

DepEd Undersecretary Kris Ablan made this appeal Tuesday night during the department’s Computerization Program forum in Oranbo Elementary School.

Ablan noted that while he is not dismissing the branding, it is more important that suppliers prioritize the quality and the specifications of the computers they would submit for bidding and review.

“I was just trying to emphasize a point to them that the end users of this are not your ordinary government employees. It’s actually students, these are our children, these are our nephews, and are our nieces, and sabi nga ni Rizal ang pag-asa ng ating bayan ay kabataan ([Jose] Rizal said that the youth is the hope of the land). And if we don’t invest in them properly, what’s going to happen to us?” he said.

The branding of the computer where the DepEd’s logo will be embossed into the laptop’s case is unnecessary, he said.

“I’m not really into the branding of the laptop and ‘yung lalagyan ng (and the casing of the) laptop. Right now, we’re starting fresh under the administration of PBBM (President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.) and VP Sara (Duterte). I would rather provide a laptop that has the components needed for our teachers and learners than focus on na kulay blue siya, na may DepEd emboss siya (that it’s blue or with an embossed DepEd logo),” Ablan said.

He said the modification of branding might just add up to the delays in their delivery as materials have yet to be imported.

What is important is the specs and their durability, he said.

“May mga laptop kaming nasisira wala pang dalawang taon, so ‘yun po ‘yung concern ko. Kapag sinabi niyong may service center, ‘pag nagyabang kayong mayroon kayong mobile repair unit, siguraduhin niyo pong mayroon kayong mobile repair unit at hindi po puro laway lang po ‘yun (We have some laptops that no longer function only in less than two years. So that’s our concern. If you say you have a service center, and you’re boasting of your mobile repair unit, make sure that you really have one and not just mere talk),” he added.

Ablan, however, clarified that he is not merely making hasty comments, saying the procurement body would take the stakeholders’ feedback into careful consideration.

The forum intends to disclose the technical needs for the procurement of information and communications technology products.

Under the DepEd Computerization program, an e-classroom is targeted to be procured for the learners.

“Ang e-classroom po ay ang ating mobile computer lab na magko-consist po ng around 45 laptops sa ating mga learners at teachers, kasama po ang isang smart TV, dalawang wireless router at charging cart po niya (The e-classroom is our mobile computer lab that shall consist of about 45 laptops for our learners and teachers, including a smart TV, two wireless routers, and its charging cart),” he said.

It can be recalled that the department was put into the limelight a few months ago over the alleged PHP2.4 billion overpriced laptops. (PNA)