In keeping with President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to cut red tape in government, the Department of Education (DepEd) will speed up the procurement and delivery of supplies to ensure that schools do not lack textbooks and furniture, a high-ranking official said.
DepEd Assistant Secretary G.H.S. Ambat said the department will use the P42.977 billion which was not utilized last year to acquire needed supplies.
A 2015 audit report released by the Commission on Audit (COA) recently showed that the Education department failed to utilize the amount which was allotted for the agency’s computerization program for public schools, outreach projects for school dropouts and out-of-school youths.
“We had a procurement review last week to fast-track the procurement [process]. It should be delivered by 2016, if not, the money will lapse,” Ambat said.
“In the [DepEd] central office, these are just numbers, it’s only procurement, but it will adversely affect schools, particularly in far-flung areas,” she explained.
Education Secretary Leonor Briones has vowed a speedier and more efficient procurement process.
“The first order of battle of Secretary Briones is to look on the procurement and budgeting because there have been problems in the procurement in the previous years. The Secretary wants to see that it’s moving because we have the biggest share of the budget,” Ambat said.
“We will monitor that in the next four months to ensure the delivery of textbooks, learning materials, and school furniture,” she added.
Ambat said the department has now two undersecretaries for finance.
“One of them will focus on budget and delivery. DepEd will now have a full time delivery unit to just track what is happening on the procurement of these materials and inputs,” she added.