DepEd told to address limited transparency in procurement process 

AN ADVOCACY group on Monday called for transparency and participative leadership in the Department of Education (DepEd) following a string of corruption allegations involving the agencys top officials. 

Citing its observations of DepEds procurement system, MultiplY-Ed said there are critical processes and offices that are still not open to monitoring. 

Information is selectively accessible,it said in a statement.  

In the 11 procurement items that the group monitored, it was only able to observe until the opening of bids, and the monitors were not given any additional information regarding the awarding of the contract and implementation afterward,the group said.  

It noted that civil society organizations need a lot of capacity-building and resources for them to conduct monitoring given the government’s selective transparency and obscure commitments. 

Two top DepEd officials resigned from their posts recently following an investigative report by Rappler on laptops intended for public school teachers that have been sold in retail stores.  

The report showed that DepEd had failed to pay logistics partner Transpac Cargo Logistics, Inc., which won a hugecontract to distribute DepEd materials, including laptops nationwide. 

Earlier this year, DepEd confirmed that laptops being sold at a surplus store in Cebu City in central Philippines were under its computerization program, which was headed by one of the two education officials who recently resigned.  

The recent anomalous contracts demonstrate that the transparency, participation, and accountability mechanisms in government procurement are no longer enough to stop corruption,MultiplY-Ed said. For one, it is supply-dependent or government-led, i.e., depending on whether the government would allow those TPA mechanisms to work. 

Citing its monitoring covering 53 schools in 10 divisions, the group said the laptops were badly needed during distance learning, and there were many students and teachers who did not have them. 

It said 17% of the student respondents, 22% of teacher respondents, and 17% of parent respondents noted a lack of access to learning resources including gadgets needed for distance learning. 

The group raised the need to revisit the procurement system, including the personnel involved, to strengthen public procurement integrity and effectiveness. 

Particularly, the Government Procurement Policy Board should ensure that the reforms in procurement processes prevent corruption and ensure timely delivery of quality public services and goods that benefit ordinary citizens,MultiplY-Ed said. 

It also called for an amendment of the Government Procurement Reform Act, a 2003 law that sought to address transparency and competition issues in the procurement process. Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza