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P113M in textbooks, manuals idle in DepEd warehouses

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by Allan Yves Briones

Learning materials including textbooks and teachers’ manuals worth over P113.71 million are left undistributed in Department of Education (DepEd) warehouses, a Commission on Audit (COA) report disclosed.

“DepEd has an alarming number of undistributed instructional materials amounting to P113,708,595 that were procured as buffer stock from (years) 2014 to 2017,” the 2018 audit report read.

These instructional materials were discovered by state auditors in DepEd warehouses in Taguig City.

State auditors found that since 2014, DepEd was only able to utilize a mere 23 percent of the total number of materials in their stock, tying up government resources due to being “minimally distributed.”

According to DepEd officials, these are part of their “buffer stock” – used to replace lost or damaged materials, or to cover rising enrollment numbers.

However, state auditors reiterated that even considering this, the education department has still been buying too much, yet distributing too little.

Under Presidential Decree No. 1445, COA prohibits the procurement of “irregular, unnecessary, excessive, extravagant and unconscionable” expenditures.

“The audit team has given emphasis in reiterating the observations and recommendations in previous years and may consider these procured and undistributed/unutilized buffer stocks as wastage of government resources,” COA said.

In addition, COA found that DepEd caretaking of idle resources is less than optimal.

“Likewise, control weaknesses were observed in the safekeeping and inventory system of instructional materials which can bring further damage or loss thereto,” the report added.

The state auditing agency ordered the education department to strictly comply with the rules and regulations governing agency expenditures, as well as the immediate distribution of learning materials which could be used by students nationwide.

Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara has expressed his disappointment over DepEd’s inefficiencies.

“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,” he said in a statement Friday.

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