DepEd's poor planning led to P25.2 million in damaged textbooks — COA

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 13) — The Department of Education's (DepEd) poor planning resulted to the damage of P25.21 million worth of textbooks, according to a government audit report. 

In its 2017 report released over the weekend, the Commission on Audit (COA) found that 820,682 printed textbooks were left inside printing press Lexicon Press, Inc. because DepEd's own warehouse failed to store it.

The unavailability of storage facilities was due to warehouse refurbishing of the DepEd's Bureau of Learning Resources (BLR), COA said. 

"DepEd suffered loss amounting to P25,213,511.10 representing the cost of 820,682 damaged Grade 2 Learning Materials (LMs) at the contractor's warehouse due to insufficient warehousing facilities to house the deliveries and lack of prudence on the part of DepEd to ensure the safety of the learning materials," the report read.

COA said it received information in August 2017 that Lexicon Press disposed over 800,000 damaged textbooks because they had to clean the warehouse because of "bad odor and sanitation and health concerns." A defect in the warehouse caused flooding, which led to the damage. 

COA said it was poor planning on the part of DepEd.

"Procurement of forwarding services and the refurbishment of the BLR warehouse, which did not coincide with the delivery of the learning manuals, depicted poor planning that resulted in non-availability of the needed services and storage facilities," the report said. 

COA flagged the constant delay in the department's bidding activities.

"The deficiency in planning was apparently a contributing factor for the loss, which can also be directly attributed to the prevalent delay in the bidding/procurement activities of DepEd," it read. 

COA also pointed out that there were procedural lapses due to lack of proper turnover of the books to appropriate DepEd authority. 

Under Presidential Decree No. 1445, DepEd also is required to immediately notify the COA if there is a loss of government fund caused by an unavoidable incident.

Undistributed textbooks

The auditing body also called out DepEd for the 2.1 million textbooks procured from 2013-2016 which remain undistributed.

It said this may eventually result in wastage of government resources. It added the undistributed textbooks worth P56.75 million may possibly never be used because of time obsolesce, loss, damage or deterioration.

"Observed control weaknesses were observed in the proper safekeeping and inventory system of textbooks/teachers' manual which can bring further damage or loss of textbooks/teachers' manual," COA said. 

It urged DepEd to exercise due diligence in procurement planning for an effective service delivery, allowing for appropriate contingency measures to prevent losses of government resources.

COA also urged DepEd to conduct an investigation as to who shall be held accountable, adding those found responsible should be meted with sanctions.