SEVERAL congressmen have filed a resolution seeking to investigate the alleged sales of laptops bought for public school teachers on social media.
“This fire sale controversy is yet another alarming concern on the rampant irregular government procurement process and implementation,” the lawmakers said in House Resolution 950.
Teachers in 2021 and 2022 said they did not receive laptops bought by the Department of Education (DepEd) under the agency’s computerization program, according to the resolution. State auditors and Congress earlier found overpricing for the laptop deals.
The congressmen also cited reports by news website Rappler, which said the laptops were being sold at retail stores in Rizal, central Luzon and Cebu.
The lawmakers said Rappler had traced the fire sale to a P667-million contract awarded by DepEd to Transpac Cargo Logistics, Inc., which is based in Las Piñas City.
“Transpac alleges that DepEd failed to settle the unpaid fees amounting to P34.5 million, resulting in the nondelivery of laptops, and that their subcontractors were the ones selling the same,” they said. “Transpac added that these laptops are being sold in order to mitigate the losses incurred by Transpac and its subcontractors.”
Education Undersecretary for Administration Michael Kristian Ablan and Assistant Secretary Christopher Lawrence S. Arnuco resigned from their posts last month. Mr. Ablan has said his resignation had nothing to do with the laptop controversy.
“Due to the nondelivery of these procured laptops, teachers were forced to shell out from their own pockets and meager salaries the buying of the laptops to cope up with the online or blended learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic,” the lawmakers said.
The authors of the resolution are Party-list Reps. France L. Castro, Arlene D. Brosas and Raoul Danniel A. Manuel. — Beatriz Marie D. Cruz