MANILA – A Department of Education (DepEd) official on Monday clarified that the 166 brand new units of Mitsubishi Strada trucks distributed to field engineers were procured before the pandemic after a group took a swipe at the agency over its alleged “injudicious” fund use.
“When we were about to distribute them, naabutan ng ECQ [enhance community quarantine] kaya kailan lang yan nai-distribute (we distributed them just recently because of the ECQ) During the ECQ, those vehicles were used by DepEd to help transport frontliners,” DepEd Undersecretary Alain Pascua said in a text message to reporters.
Pascua added that the vehicles “are being used in the delivery of modules, in transporting teachers, and in addressing emergencies before school opening and even until now”.
Pascua was reacting to the statement of a teachers group, which said that the purchase was “questionable at a time when the agency could not even provide the basic needs of distance learning amid the pandemic”.
On Oct. 1, Mitsubishi Motors Carworld Pampanga delivered 166 units of Strada 4×4 GLS MT pickup trucks to the DepEd San Fernando, Pampanga.
The said units are in addition to the initial 88 pickup trucks, which were released on Dec. 5, 2019.
“The vehicles are for field engineers for their inspection of school building programs in far-flung areas, dun sa mga bundok at lugar na 4×4 lang ang pupwede, nandun mga last mile schools natin (in mountains and places which can only be reached by 4×4, where our Last Mile Schools are located),” Pascua said.
“They will also be commanded by DRRM coordinators during times of calamities and emergencies, like the Mindanao earthquakes and Taal Volcano eruption, where only 4x4s can cross there. Binili talaga yan ng DepEd para mas makapagserbisyo at mas makapaglingkod sa ating mamayan, lalo na sa malalalyong lugar na di maabot ng ordinaryong sasakyan (DepEd really bought them to give service to our fellowmen especially in places which cannot be reached using ordinary vehicles), he added.
Meanwhile, DepEd Undersecretary for Finance Annalyn Sevilla said the vehicles are budgeted in previous years.
“There were savings as a result of procurement from 2018 which was used to reorder 20 additional pickup vehicles for engineers. Budget and procurement process happened in 2018/2019; deliveries in late 2019 and early 2020,” Sevilla added. (PNA)