The Department of Education (DepEd) assured the public that it will conduct an investigation into the allegations that the agency purchased overpriced cameras.
“Maasahan po ninyo that we will look into this,” DepEd spokesperson Michael Poa said in a televised interview on Wednesday, February 1.
“It was being claimed that certain cameras were procured back in 2019 if I’m not mistaken and when I looked into it ang nasa picture was an entry-level camera,” Poa said.
“But when I asked the Public Affairs service regarding the cameras being used by DepEd, lahat naman po yan Mark 4, so hindi po siya yung entry-level na camera,” he added reiterating that they have to conduct a probe before commenting further about the allegations.
On Tuesday, January 31, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. reposted a Facebook post showing a DSLR Canon 1500D with a lens that costs P155,929.
The camera has a sticker that carries the DepEd logo, while its property number starts with “2022.”
Other details about the camera such as the serial number, acquisition date, accountable officer, and location were blurred out.
After overpriced laptops, overpriced cameras naman? This was posted by a professional photographer who inquired why this entry-level camera apparently costs P155k while a similar model sells for P23k in Lazada. pic.twitter.com/jbMkTNVb7G
— Renato Reyes, Jr. (@natoreyes) January 31, 2023
The original Facebook post was already deleted.
Reyes also questioned the procurement of other cameras as he shared the 2019 acquisition documents from DepEd.
One of the documents showed that the agency approved P500,000 for a DSLR/Mirrorless camera and a professional camcorder.
Another document, meanwhile, indicated that the DepEd approved P816,168 budget for two DSLR Camera with Lens and battery packs, a camcorder, a battery grip for a DSLR Camera, two pieces of two-way tripod head, and a condenser shotgun microphone.
A more recent document, with a solicitation date of September 15, 2022, showed that the DepEd Caraga approved a P170,000 budget for a mirrorless DSLR camera.
In 2021, the Commission on Audit flagged the DepEd’s procurement of overpriced laptops.
On January 19, the Senate Blue Ribbon committee recommended administrative and criminal charges against former senior DepEd officials and the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management over the purchase of laptops that the panel found to be overpriced by at least P979 million.
Because of these controversies, Poa said that the agency is implementing measures to “strengthen their internal controls” and ensure transparency in the procurement process.