DepEd cancels bidding for ham and cheese for Christmas

Published November 14, 2020, 5:52 PM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

The Department of Education has cancelled an invitation to bid for the supply and delivery of ham and cheese supposedly for the Central Office Christmas celebration following a firestorm of criticisms.

DepEd, in a document posted Nov. 12, called a bidding for P4.278-million worth of ham and cheese or P2.982 million for 4,260 pieces of ham and P1.296 million for 2,160 pieces of cheese. The invitation to bid has since been taken down at the DepEd website. 

“The call for bidding has been cancelled,” the DepEd said in a statement released by the Public Service Affairs. “It was regular procurement but it is inappropriate at this time when our employees are severely affected by recent disasters,” it added.

DepEd said that it has “since reallocated the funds for the needs of those affected” by typhoons “Rolly” and “Ulysses” as well as the “ongoing COVID-19 effort for our employees.”

DepEd said that the other regional and division offices not affected by the typhoons “have also pitched in to help our teachers and learners on the ground.”

Earlier, two DepEd undersecretaries went to Bicol to visit the schools and Cagayan to check the needs of the schools. “The welfare of our teachers and learners remains to be our priority and more so at this time,” DepEd added.

DepEd PAS Director June Gudoy  explained that the said invitation to bid “is a regular procurement” which is “allocated beforehand like other government agencies during this season.” He added that the posting of the said invitation is a “requirement for transparency of government procurement” and that it has “been included in the 2019 budget for employees.”

Gudoy said that the invitation to bid is “now moot” and the “reallocation will prioritize those affected.”

DepEd Undersecretary for Finance Annalyn Sevilla said that “allocating funds from one program to another is not allowed in budget law,” for example, from school building to school feeding or quick response to computerization program, but “reallocation within program” is allowed.

“In this case, this is within general admin and management services, hence an activity can still be re-prioritized within the same program,” Sevilla  said.

DepEd is also preparing to process the year-end bonus (one month basic pay) and cash gift (P5,000 per personnel) for eligible employees not earlier than Nov. 15, 2020.