A laptop made specifically for the Department of Education’s (DepEd) project “Purchase DCP Packages” was sold at a local surplus store in Mandaue City for 10,000 pesos, 72 percent less than the DepEd P36,100 contract price for the same unit.
HMR Cebu, a local surplus store, posted on its Facebook page the sale of its 14-inch Coby laptop for P9,999 on Monday, October 17, 2022, as one of its new products.
A SunStar Cebu laptop buyer showed noticeable signs of partially scraped from the laptop and its accessories. The buyer said he learned from employees that there were already eight other buyers who had bought the same device before him.
The scraping from the etched marks on the back of the display and the bottom of the laptop’s front display, and on the mouse, was very visible when the product was supposed to be new.
Among the laptop accessories was a portable speaker with a lapel microphone. The speaker has a DepEd label “Sulong EduKalidad”. The headset packaging also bore the DepEd logo and the project tags “Purchase DCP Packages”.
Upon closer inspection of the laptop, SunStar also discovered that some of the pre-loaded files were DepEd training videos on how to operate the laptop and applications such as Minecraft Education, Arduino, Geometry, Graphing Calc, and GeoGebra Classic.
Minecraft Education is a game-based learning platform designed to foster creativity, collaboration, and problem solving in an immersive and secure digital environment. It is a partnership between Microsoft and DepEd.
Arduino is a program that is part of DepEd’s Computing Program (DCP) Virtual Labs.
DepEd, represented by then-Secretary Leonor Briones, signed a contract agreement with the joint venture of Reddot Imaging Philippines Inc. and Creative Labs Berlin GMBH Corp. To supply 8908 laptops, 8908 55-inch smart TVs and 8908 speakers lapel microphone) for a total of P475,562,463.84 for the Cordillera Administrative Region, Ilocos, Cagayan Valley and Central Luzon regions on February 10, 2021.
Specifications of the 14″ Coby Laptop and special requirements set by DepEd for each unit, such as placing the embossed/engraved DepEd logo on the back side of the display (cover), on the front display edge or keyboard area and on the mouse, were the same specifications as With the Coby laptop that was sold at HMR Cebu – except that the DepEd logo marks were scraped.
SunStar Cebu contacted the management of HMR Cebu, to no avail. However, a store clerk told SunStar Cebu that the laptops were supplied by a buyer in Manila, who was the one who set the price of the device. As for the laptop case, it was as they got it from the buyer in Manila.
In a phone interview, another writer said she would report to management concerns about the laptop sale.
(Editor’s note: If you are among those who purchased the same Coby laptop at HMR Cebu, please contact the SunStar Cebu Newsroom at 09177139076 and 09154410491 in order to determine the size of this publicly available laptop.)
SunStar Cebu reached out to DepEd at Central Visayas (DepEd 7) for an explanation of how the department’s custom-built laptops arrived at a surplus store.
Ministry of Education spokeswoman 7 Amaryllis Villarmia said the regional office will issue a statement on the matter on Saturday, October 22, 2022.
As a reminder, the Committee on Audit (COA) in its 2021 audit report set the price of the laptops purchased by the Department of Budget, Management and Procurement (PS-DBM) at PhP58,300 per unit of 39,583 laptop units. Computers for teachers to use in online learning.
The purchases are funded under Republic Act 11494 or “Bayanihan to Recover As One Act” worth 2.4 billion pesos.
According to state auditors, the price of the laptops was too high based on the specifications attached to the memo issued by the Ministry of Education.
State auditors questioned why DepEd accepted the unit price as part of the PS-DBM recommendations despite the fact that the estimated price based on DepEd’s approved annual procurement plan was only P35,046.50.
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