By Hannah Torregoza
Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara on Friday said he was disappointed over the inefficiencies of the Department of Education (DepEd) as shown on the 2018 Commission on Audit (COA) report.
The COA, in its 2018 annual audit report, disclosed that the DepEd had an accumulated P13.9-billion worth of undocumented expenses that ranged from P3,000 to as much as P13-billion for 2018.
It also flagged the DepEd for the idle books and learning materials that cost the government with over P113-million.
“How do we expect our youth to be prepared for college and to find decent jobs later on in life when they’re not getting the best education that they deserve in grade school and high school?” said Angara in a statement.
Angara said he was irate at the disappointing accomplishment report of the DepEd, despite the fact that the department always got the biggest share in the government’s annual national budget.
He said the COA report merely showed how poorly the agency was performing to the detriment of Filipino students.
“Almost 27 million textbooks were not delivered for the use of the students and there were also zero deliveries for some items necessary for the success of the K to 12 program. We are supposed to be showing progress in our educational system, but after seeing these figures, clearly we still have a long way to go,” Angara said.
“Education always gets the biggest share of the government’s funds and rightfully so because this will ensure the country remains competitive with its people as its backbone. So why are we shortchanging our people on this front with such inefficiencies?” Angara added.
Angara said he will file a resolution next week to look into the chronic delays in the procurement and distribution of critical Basic Education Facilities items and its adverse impact on basic education outcomes, including the performance of the students.
The senator noted that in the COA’s audit report, the DepEd was supposed to construct 47,000 new classrooms for the year, but only managed to complete 11.
“That’s not even one percent of the target. Tapos may mga nakita pa ang COA na mga classrooms na lagpas dalawang taon na ang delay sa completion at nire-report pa na 99 percent completed na pero hindi naman pala, (And COA managed to find out that there are some classrooms that were delayed for two years, but were reported as 99 percent completed, but it turned out it’s not),” he said.
“Taon taon ang laki ng pondo na binibigay sa DepEd para sa edukasyon ng mga bata tapos masasayang lang ang malaking bahagi nito at makikita nanaman natin ang mga estudyanteng walang classrooms, (Yearly, DepEd is given huge funds to sustain the education of our youth, then we find out that a big chunk of the funds go to waste and we will still see students having no classrooms),” he lamented.
The DepEd was also supposed to distribute 38.5 million textbooks and instructional/learning materials for the students and teachers, but was able to deliver 11.8 million, according to state auditors.
In its audit report, COA also discovered that 3.4 million copies of instructional materials worth P113.7-million procured from 2014 to 2017 were left rotting inside the warehouses of the DepEd.
Furthermore, COA noted various errors in some of the textbooks for Grade 3 students, the cost of which was pegged at P254.3-million.
The COA report also stated that a total of 3,183 science and math packages were undelivered to intended recipients. These packages consist of equipment essential to learning under the K to 12 program and was supposed to be distributed in 2018.
State auditors also noted that there were undelivered science and mathematics equipment (SME); unutilized SMEs due to excessive quantities allocated and delivered to schools that did not need them.
There was also lack of knowledge and proper training of teachers to use the equipment; and a lack of storage rooms or laboratories to house these items.
According to the COA, even the equipment for the technical-vocational-livelihood (TVL) track of the K to 12 program—a total of 4,600 units—did not reach the schools.
The COA also found out that items for the P4.6-billion redesigned technical-vocational high school program for school year 2016 to 2017 were also underutilized. It also noted the delays in the construction of buildings and deferred course offerings for the TVL tracks.