Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go is supporting the calls for the abolition of the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management, stressing need to hold its officials accountable if found guilty of corruption or other irregularities.
This comes after reports of corruption in the agency, including the procurement of “overpriced” and “outdated” laptops for teachers.
The senator said that the agency should be abolished if the Department of Budget and Management can carry out procurement procedures on its own.
To recall, the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee — of which Go is a vice chair — on 25 August conducted a public hearing regarding the controversial purchase by the PS-DBM and the Department of Education of Intel Celeron laptops at the cost of P58,300 per unit.
This was flagged by the Commission on Audit for being pricey yet outdated. For that unit price, the purchased laptops ended up being more expensive than a MacBook Air with M1 chip, which is currently priced at P57,990.
The DepEd’s initial estimated price for each laptop was P35,046.50 but due to the 66 percent increase from the original estimated price, only 39,583 units of the 68,500 laptops intended for teachers were bought.
Go lamented that some teachers even have to go as far as taking out loans just to buy proper laptops.
“There should be check and balance and every procurement should be scrutinized by the Commission on Audit,” Go said. “We should always think of the public’s interest and welfare.”
The senator also stressed that there is a need to hold accountable erring officials.
Go has long been advocating for the welfare of the country’s teachers. The senator has previously urged the national government to provide additional support for public school teachers, citing the hardships they are facing as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
He was an author and co-sponsor of Republic Act 11466 or the Salary Standardization Law 5, which gives civilian government employees, including public school teachers, salary increases broken down in tranches.
Recently, Go refiled Senate Bill 1190 to expand the purposes and application of the Special Education Fund which he proposed to be used for the operation and maintenance of public schools; payment of salaries, allowances and other benefits of teaching and non-teaching personnel; competency trainings for teaching personnel; operation of Alternative Learning System, including payment of salaries, allowances and other benefits of ALS facilitators; educational research; and teaching aids and other instructional materials, among others.
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