Gatchalian to DepEd: Improve utilization of funds for computerization program

Gatchalian to DepEd: Improve utilization of funds for computerization program

By Ernie Reyes

MANILA — The Department of Education (DepEd) is set to receive a 94%
budget hike for its Computerization Program (DCP) under fiscal year

  1. For Senator Win Gatchalian, however, the education department
    should ensure that funds are properly used to procure and provide
    computers for the country’s public schools.

For 2019 and 2020, DepEd was only able to disburse 27% of its
available appropriations under the DCP. Under the 2022 National
Expenditure Program (NEP), the DCP is set to receive P11.65 billion.
For Fiscal Year 2021, the program has an allocation of P6 billion.
While Gatchalian supports the budget hike, he emphasized that proper
spending of the program’s funds is needed to ensure learning
continuity through digital methods.

“Looking at the past experience of the department in terms of
dispensing the budget on computerization, I’ve noted that it has some
issues in terms of obligations and disbursement” said the Chairman of
the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture.

According to the 2020 Commission on Audit (COA) report on DepEd, only
7,555 or 16.29% out of the targeted 38,827 Information and
Communications Technology (ICT) packages were delivered as of year-end

  1. These ICT packages were funded under the DCP by the General
    Appropriations Acts for Fiscal Years 2018-2020.

The COA also flagged delays in the delivery of DCP packages for Fiscal
Year 2020, which ranged from 60-317 calendar days. The approved budget
for the contract (ABC) for these packages was P2.37 billion. State
auditors noted that these delays adversely affected the program’s
objectives of enhancing the teaching-learning process and raising the
ICT literacy of learners and educators.

In 2019, state auditors flagged supplier woes and the readiness of
schools to receive ICT packages. Some schools were not ready to
receive the packages because they lacked multi-media or computer
rooms, proper electrical groundings, wirings and circuit breakers, and
window grills.

ICT coordinators also reported how some suppliers did not provide
after-sales services. Some of them could no longer be reached through
their contact details, making it possible for them to escape
liability.

“We really have to pay attention to the suppliers if they can supply
honestly, because with P11 billion, your (DepEd’s) hands will be full
in terms of procuring all this equipment,” Gatchalian said.

The lawmaker is also filing a bill that will accelerate the digital
transformation of the education sector. (ai/mtvn)

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