DepEd criticized for shopping cars, Palace says it will be used to deliver modules

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DAVAO CITY — Netizens criticized the Department of Education (DepEd) for buying over 100 service vehicles at P1.5 million each on claims that it will be used by its engineering department for inspection.

When the procurement broke off, hundreds of netizens used social media and criticized the department for prioritizing their cars at the expense of erroneous modules distributed to the learners which caused confusion.

Netizens claimed it could have been prudent for the education department to buy cars to deliver modules to students and teachers under the distance learning scheme during the pandemic.

Netizens also questioned the bidding procedure. Some claim they just knew that DepEd has an engineering department.

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines criticized the DepEd for purchasing over 100 Mitsubishi Strada (4×4 GLS MT) to be used by its engineers during field inspections.

ACT secretary-general Raymond Basilio said the funds used to buy the vehicles could have been used to provide basic needs under distance learning

The DepEd’s justification runs counter against the defense of Malacañang.

Joan, 35, a mother of three learners on her Facebook account shouted, “Hoy! gi-una pa ang sakyanan kaysa ayuhon ang module nga walay klaro, DepEd pag-sure oi!” (Hey! you prioritized your car instead of making up with your vague module, DepEd be sure!)

On Tuesday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque came to the defense of DepEd’s saying the vehicles will be used to deliver modules to students and teachers under the distance learning setup amid the prevailing coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

Roque said the vehicles were already budgeted in the 2019 General Appropriations Act (GAA).

“Unang-una, 2019 budget iyan, iyong kanilang need was assessed as early as 2016. At ngayon po, kailangang-kailangan po talaga ng DepEd iyan dahil nga po kinakailangan i-deliver ang mga modules sa mga malalayong lugar all over the Philippines (Firstly, it’s already part of the 2019 budget and the need was assessed as early as 2016. Now, the DepEd really needs it to deliver modules to far-flung areas all over the Philippines),” he said.

Roque said the vehicles were a result of the public bidding process.

“So, bakit po iyan ang brand? Eh, iyan po iyong nanalo sa bidding. Eh talaga naman po lahat ng government procurement dumadaan po iyan sa public bidding, at iyan po iyong pinakamababang responsive bid na nakuha ng DepEd (Why that specific brand? Because it won the bidding. All government procurements go through public bidding and it is the cheapest response bid the DepEd got),” he added.

According to Roque, President Rodrigo Duterte had full trust in DepEd Secretary Leonor Briones’ discretion to allow the purchase of the vehicles.

“Ultimately it’s a matter of trusting the head of the office. I trust, the President trusts and the entire Filipino nation trusts Professor Emeritus Leonor Briones,” he added.

DepEd Undersecretary for Administration Alain Pascua earlier said the vehicles were used in the delivery of modules, in transporting teachers, and in addressing emergencies.-Editha Z. Caduaya/

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