A majority member in the House Committee on Basic Education and Culture assailed the Department of Education’s mishandling of public funds with the printing of 16 million textbooks worth more than P608 million.
Valenzuela City Congressman Win Gatchalian’s criticism of DepEd was based on the annual audit report on the DepEd released by the Commission on Audit or COA on Mar. 31.
In the COA report, the delivered textbooks totaling 16,296,231 and amounting to ₱608,712,658 “will eventually be regarded only as reference materials being no longer responsive to the enhanced K to 12 curriculums even though they were received by the schools for use for SY 2012-2013.”
“What our students need are textbooks they can bring home and use in classrooms, not reference books that will be shelved in libraries,” Gatchalian, who is also a majority member in the House Committee on Higher and Technical Education, said.
The COA said the questionable 16 million textbooks were intended for Grades 1 and 2 and Grades 7 and 8. “Fully aware of the consequences of the buying obsolete books under the old curriculum, the DepEd issued memos that contained the lists of learning materials to be used only as reference materials,” the COA said.
Quantity and cost of procured obsolete books, list from COA:
|Grade Level||K to 12
|Sub Total||SY 2012-2013||14,057,167||520,471,024|
|Sub Total||SY 2013-2014||2,239,064||88,241,634|
Gatchalian agreed with the COA position in its Circular 2012-003 saying that the purchase and the delayed delivery and distribution of textbooks resulted in “unnecessary expenses” only translated to “indiscriminate wastage of government funds”.
“Unnecessary Expenses pertain to expenditures which could not pass the test of prudence of the diligence of a good father of a family, thereby denoting non-responsiveness to the exigencies of the service,” the COA stated.
“Unnecessary expenditures are those not supportive of the implementation of the objectives and mission of the agency relative to nature of the operation.”
Gatchalian pointed out that using the books as reference materials “will not actually cover the gap in textbooks”, which students urgently need to navigate through their studies under the new curriculum.
The Valenzuela City representative added that the funds spent by the DepEd from public coffers could have been used to solve the education gap in learning resources if only the DepEd did not turn out careless in managing funds collected from the public.
“The money from taxpayers would have been put to good use if only the DepEd was responsible enough to make sure the books would not be instantly obsolete and could be used in the new basic education curriculum,” Gatchalian said.
All but two of the seven suppliers cited by COA in the audit report have been involved in the questionable direct contracting of books by the DepEd, even when the Government Procurement Reform Act sets competitive or public bidding as the rule for all state purchases, with direct contracting only allowed for “highly exceptional cases,” a VERA Files report in Dec. 2011 showed.
In the report, just over 30 million of the 61.4 million copies of textbooks and teacher’s manuals were procured by direct contracting. This amounts to P1.317 billion out of the P2.58-billion price tag of all the materials.
VERA Files cited EduResources, LG&M, SD Publications, and Vibal bagging contracts amounting to P1.049 billion, way above the P960.2-million budget of the DepEd.
This was partly because LG&M, SD Publications, and Vibal Publishing – all sister companies – imposed unit prices that were P3 to P7.67 more than what the DepEd estimated for many of their titles, even after negotiations led firms to lower their quotations. In particular, the three, whose representatives blamed rising paper costs, got contracts totaling P743.45 million, which went over DepEd estimates by P60.4 million.
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Lexicon, Alkem, and Rex, also got contracts that exceeded the DepEd’s budget by less than 5 percent, translating to a payment of P267.23 million or around P10 million more than the ceiling that the government agency set.
“If there have been issues with some book suppliers, why does the DepEd still allow them to become textbook suppliers for public elementary schools? Doing so will portray DepEd in a bad light, like a father gambling money that could have benefited his children,” the solon said.
List of textbook suppliers, from COA:
|Supplier/ Contract Number||Grade Level/ Subject||Learning Materials||Total|
|Alkem Co. (S) Private Limited|
|IMCS-2011-07-029||Grade 7: Araling Panlipunan||AP 1: Pilipinas Isang Sulyap at Pagyakap I||493,210||P22,948,748|
|Book Media Press., Inc.|
|IMCS-2011-10-044||Grade 1: English||English Expressway 1||1,240,719||P44,496,343|
|IMCS-2012-01-006||Grade 1: English||Ventures in Communication I||301,158||P13,459,595|
|Grade 1: Science||Science and Technology I: Integrated Science||268,417||P13,107,007|
|Grade 2: English||English Expressways II||351,385||P15,324,938|
|Grade 2: Science||Science and Technology II: Biology||250,251||P12,168,828|
|Eduresource Publishing, Inc.|
|IMCS-2011-08-037||Grade 1: Filipino||Landas sa Wika at Pagbasa||2,102,847||P75,285,806|
|Grade 2: Math||Mathematics for Everyday Use||1,651,023||P54,583,919|
|FEP Printing Corporation|
|IMCS-2011-10-041/042||Grade 2: English||English for You and Me 2||1,019,522||P39,212,685|
|Lexicon Press, Inc.|
|IMCS-2011-07-030||Grade 2: Filipino||Pagdiriwang ng Wikang Filipino 2||1,992,922||P67,316,254|
|IMCS-2011-08-038||Grade 2: Sibika||Sibika at Kultura Serye 2-Makabayan: Katangiang Pilipino||1,296,489||P57,087,871|
|Vibal Publishing House, Inc|
|IMCS-BI-2012-003-016||Grade 1: Math||Elementary Mathematics 1||2,147,834||P63,845,877|
|Grade 8: PEH||Enjoying Life with P.E and Health II||1,745,854||P65,292,886|
|IMCS-2011-08-040||Grade 1: Sibika||Makabayang Pilipino 1: Matapat na Pilipino 1||1,434,600||P64,581,900|