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‘PS-DBM owes DepEd P5.5 billion learning materials’

Elizabeth Marcelo - The Philippine Star
âPS-DBM owes DepEd P5.5 billion learning materialsâ
Parents check the self-learning modules and books distributed at General Roxas Elementary School in Quezon City on Sept. 9, 2021.
The STAR / Michael Varcas, file

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Audit (COA) has told the Department of Education (DepEd) to demand the delivery of P5.53 billion worth of computer hardware and software, textbooks and other learning materials it procured from the Procurement Service–Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) in 2020 and previous years.

In its 2020 annual audit report, the COA noted that as of yearend, the DepEd has P6.65 billion in outstanding fund transfers to PS-DBM, of which, 83 percent or P5.53 billion was meant for the procurement of computer hardware and software (P5.03 billion) and various instructional and learning materials and textbooks (P502.83 million).

The COA said the items were supposed to be distributed to public elementary and secondary schools nationwide under the DepEd Computerization Program (DCP) and other related projects.

“Transfer of funds without meticulously monitoring the liquidations and timely delivery of the procured items may adversely affect the efficient program delivery of the DepEd,” the COA said in its report uploaded on its website last Aug. 14.

“It also resulted in the accumulation of undelivered supplies and equipment. Moreover, the considerable delays in the deliveries deprived the School Division Offices (SDOs) of the use thereof at the time these were needed and left the funds idle for a long time in the hands of PS-DBM,” the COA added.

The COA faulted the DepEd Central Office (CO) for still transferring P1.44 billion to PS-DBM in 2020, even if the latter still had P5.21 billion in undelivered items or unliquidated funds pertaining to the amounts it received from prior years.

The COA said that as of end-2020, a total of P5.21 billion in fund transfers of DepEd to PS-DBM were already considered “dormant” or “past due” their liquidation deadlines.

“We recommended that the (DepEd) Management regularly reconcile records with the PS-DBM, monitor diligently the fund utilization and the timely delivery of procured items and immediately inform the PS-DBM about the existence of undelivered supplies to avoid the accumulation thereof,” the COA said.

The audit body said the DepEd must also limit its fund transfer to PS-DBM and “demand the refund of the unutilized/dormant funds, and remit the same to the Bureau of Treasury (BTr).”

In a reply, incorporated in the audit report, the DepEd CO said that while its Asset Management Division (AMD) and Accounting Division (AD) both do not agree with the continuous transfer of funds to the PS-DBM due to the existing balances per books, “they are not in the position to control new fund releases for approved programs/projects.”

“For common-use supplies, the AMD is doing its best to prudently track the balances and to ensure that funds transferred are fully accounted,” the DepEd said.

The DepEd also promised to COA that “all the recommendations will be taken seriously including the periodic reconciliation of reports and records by the Supply Officer and Accountant.”

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