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30,000 TEACHERS WITHOUT LAPTOPS – DELA ROSA

Senator Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa lamented that almost 30,000 public school teachers were not able to receive laptop units for the online classes and blended learning implemented at the height of the pandemic, because the Department of Education (DepEd) agreed to buy “pricey” laptop units recommended by the Procurement Service-Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM).

DepEd originally planned to procure 68,500 laptops for public school teachers but due to the increase in price per unit, the number of units bought decreased to 39,583 units.

“Ang tanong ko lang, bakit kayo (DepEd officials) pumayag na from, ang [APR] ninyo na pinalabas was P35,046.50 per unit laptop. Ngayon, wala pang one month, binago ng PS-DBM ng P58,300. Hindi ba kayo concerned na kakaunti ang quantity kapag gano’n kamahal at saka magdududa ang tao bakit gano’n na lang kamahal ang procurement ng laptop na ‘yan? Again, sasabihin ninyo na, ‘Wala po kaming control diyan, Sir, Mr. Senator, dahil ang procurement was bidden out by PS-DBM. Wala na po kami diyan.’ But then again, sinabi nga dito na pumayag kayo nu’ng sinuggest ng PS-DBM na ganito kataas ang presyo,” Dela Rosa said.

The vice chairperson of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, could not hide his disappointment during the panel’s hearing recently on the alleged “overpriced” but “outdated” laptops, which were bought for P2.4 billion.

The legislator shared that his office has been receiving several requests for laptops from teachers across the country, especially in far-flung areas.

“Kung properly na-procure ang laptops ay sana baka wala nang manghihingi ng laptop sa opisina ko.”

“Kung properly na-procure ang laptops ay sana baka wala nang manghihingi ng laptop sa opisina ko dahil meron tayong nasayang na around 28,917 laptops na na-decrease dahil nga sa pag-increase nu’ng [APR] ng inyong procurement with a fixed budget of P2.4 billion. Biglang tumaas ‘yung [APR], bumaba ang quantity of laptops procured because of that,” the lawmaker said to the DepEd officials present during the hearing.

The senator also recalled his time as PNP Chief when PS-DBM recommended to buy Mahindra cars for the police force, but he insisted on 4×4 Toyota Hilux due to complaints about the former brand coming from the police personnel on the ground.

“Pag-upo ko ng Chief PNP, I’ve been hearing complaints from our policemen on the ground na, ‘Sir, napakahirap nitong aming patrol car, Sir, itong Mahindra. Andaling masira tapos after that wala kaming post-market maintenance’…So nu’ng dumating ‘yung bidding…Sabi ko, sabi ni President Duterte sa akin, ‘Bumili ka ng sasakyan na maganda at matibay para masaya naman ‘yung kapulisan natin sa baba,'” he said, addressing former DepEd Undersecretary for Administration Alain Del Pascua, who was on top of the laptop procurement.

“Nu’ng nag-insist sa akin ang PS-DBM na talagang Mahindra ang bibilhin namin na sasakyan at hindi ‘yung 4×4 na Toyota na gusto ko na malakas na sasakyan, sabi ko, ‘Alam mo, kahit na magsuntukan tayo dito araw-gabi, dalawang araw, hindi talaga ako mag-gi-give in sa Mahindra na ini-insist ninyo.’ Just to be frank with you because I am the end-user. Ako ang mananagot sa mga tauhan ko sa field kapag sila’y namamatay sa engkwentro sa NPA dahil ang sasakyan nila ay mahina. Ako ang mananagot,” Dela Rosa continued.

“The welfare of the public school teachers should have been the department’s priority in the laptop procurement especially in the time of pandemic.”

He emphasized that the welfare of the public school teachers should have been the department’s priority in the laptop procurement especially in the time of pandemic.

“Dapat kayo rin, gano’n din dapat ang pakiramdam niyo na ‘yung mga teacher natin sa baba, maghihirap ‘yan ‘pag walang laptop dahil lalong-lalo na sa blended learning na gusto ninyo. So sana hindi kayo pumayag,” Dela Rosa concluded.

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