DOH procurement: What laptop can you buy with P175,000?

August 17, 2021 - 5:02 PM
6 DOH Laptop Virus
The DOH opened bidding for four laptops worth P700,000. That's P175,000 for each unit. What kind of laptop can you get for that amount? (Artwork by Interaksyon/James Patrick Cruz)

The P700,000 approved budget for four laptop units by the health department made buzz online as Filipinos ask, what kind of computer can be that expensive?

The Department of Health (DOH) released a bid notice on August 4 to purchase four high-end laptops and accessories, which cost P175,000 each unit. 

Screenshot of DOH bid notice for four high-end laptops

After receiving public backlash, the health department postponed the bidding on Wednesday, Aug. 11. 

This is the same day when the Commission on Audit reported that the DOH deficiently used P67.32 billion funds. 

Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega, the DOH’s spokesperson, said the laptops were supposed to be used in “knowledge management and information technology.”

A social media user speculated that the laptop might be a 16-inch MacBook Pro with one terabyte storage which costs P165,990. Although unlike the descriptions in the DOH bid notice, MacBook Pro does not have “both tablet and laptop” features. 

While a Twitter user said it might be a Microsoft Surface Book 3, which costs around P81,000 to P172,224, depending on its storage and RAM. 

Another laptop with an estimated cost of P172,224.79 is an MSI GE66 Raider, marketed for gaming. 

The DOH could also be seeking an Asus Pro Art Studios Book One W590G6T-HI004R. But one unit could amounts to P649,995, according to a social media user. 

Other laptops from the same product line cost P139,995 to P174,995.

The market price for 2-in-1 commercial laptops could range from around P45,000 to P70,000.

A social media user pointed out that laptops can easily reach six figures, especially for those in the top-of-the-line but he questioned why the department needs these kinds of laptops.

Other social media users also find the budget for laptops unjustifiable.

“Di ko talaga ma-gets aanhin ba ng mga kawani ng DOH ang P175k na laptop for gaming ba? Or pang heavy duty na laptop? Eh pwede naman even P15k to P20k kung gagamitin lang naman maghapon for office work,” a social media user wrote on Twitter. 

“I just bought a new middle-end gaming laptop. It costs less than half of P175k pesos. The DOH is gonna make their own esports team at these prices,” a Twitter user said in jest. 

While a satirical Twitter account posted a meme about the prices of the laptop units. 

Based on a contract last year, the DOH also bought four units of “multi-media production laptop” which amounted to P1,169,672 or almost P300,000 each.

“The procurement transaction was put on hold pending the result of further market study and prevailing market price for these laptops,” Vega said.

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