DepEd procurement: Macbook Air, other laptops you can buy with P58,000 budget

August 5, 2022 - 6:58 PM
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(Artwork by Interaksyon/James Patrick Cruz)

A technology-based website juxtaposed a Macbook air with the laptop that the Department of Education had supposedly purchased for teachers.

The Commission on Audit flagged the DepEd’s procurement of laptops worth P58,300 for each unit in its 2021 audit report.

State auditors also found that DepEd bought 39,583 units of these laptops. They cost P2.4 billion in total.

The unit price was recommended by the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM-PS) and duly accepted by DepEd.

The department, however, was supposed to buy 68,500 units for the distance learning classes. Each laptop also costs P35,046 only.

“Apparently, the supposed number of laptops to be procured of 68,500 units was significantly reduced to 39,583 units which was mainly due to the huge increase of estimated cost P35,046 to P58,300 anchored on the DBM-PS’ recommendation, which was duly accepted by the DepEd,” COA said.

Moreover, the laptops in question were also being criticized for having “outdated” Intel Celeron processors.

The devices were also apparently “too slow” for online learning.

DepEd was immediately placed under public scrutiny following reports of this audit finding.

RELATED: Teachers lament purchasing own laptops after COA flags distance learning budget deficiencies 

Amid the criticisms, GizGuidePH, a technology-based website, posted on Facebook a graphic that juxtaposed the specifications of two laptops—an Intel Celeron laptop and a MacBook Air with an M1 chip.

“With secret specs inside…,” the post reads.

The Macbook Air model costs P57,990 at the standard retail price via Apple Store.

GizGuidePH’s post blew up on the platform. It has since garnered 33,000 reactions, 2,400 comments and 19,000 shares.

Most of the reactions were laugh emojis.

In its accompanying article about the issue, GizGuidePH listed the following laptop models that cost nearly the same as the one that DepEd supposedly bought:

  • ASUS TUF Dash F15 with 11th Gen Intel Core i5 processor, RTX 3060 GPU, and a 144Hz FHD screen – P57,995
  • MateBook D16 with a large 16-inch FHD+ screen, 12th Gen Intel Core i5, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD, and 60WHr battery – P55,999

Intel Celeron laptops, meanwhile, have a far cheaper price at the market than DepEd’s allocation for them.

In PC Express’ online store, laptops with Intel Celeron processors cost from P15,000 to P22,000.

A popular parody page called Malacañang Events and Catering Services also uploaded its own version of a meme.

The graphic looked like an advertisement for a product called “DepEd entry-level” laptop for P57,300.

DepEd’s response to COA’s audit report

In a press conference, lawyer Michael Poa, also the DepEd spokesperson, said that the agency has already submitted the necessary documents to COA on the matter.

“On the part of the Department of Education, we have already submitted the documentary requirements that they asked from us and we are waiting for an update on that,” Poa was quoted in the report as saying.

He also said that the education department received COA’s audit observation memorandum in March 2022.

However, Poa perceived that this observation is not yet conclusive.

“’Yung AOM naman po, finding lang yan, ano. It doesn’t mean that it’s conclusive,” he was quoted in a report as saying.