DepEd coordinators in Laguna received gaming laptops for school reopening. But why?

August 12, 2020 - 9:55 AM
3070
Laptop purchase by San Pablo
Turnover of gaming laptops for learning resource coordinators and school division personnel of San Pablo City in Laguna in this photo uploaded on Aug. 10, 2020. (Photo from DepEd Tayo San Pablo City via Facebook)

The Department of Education Schools Division Office in San Pablo City, Laguna (DepEd SDO San Pablo) on Monday received brand new gaming laptop units from the local government unit, which would help them in the upcoming opening of classes.

San Pablo City Information office said Mayor Loreto Amante personally turned over the 103 laptops to the DepEd SDO. These will be used by 80 learning resource coordinators of elementary and secondary schools, as well as 23 school division personnel.

 

Based on the Facebook post of the DepEd SDO San Pablo, the initiative is part of the local government unit’s support to the Basic Education Learning Continuity Plan in light of the shift to blended learning as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The SDO also thanked Paul Michael Cuadra for his “help.”

Cuadra is the head executive assistant of the mayor’s office.

Just in: Turn- over of 103 laptops to SDO San Pablo City by Hon. Mayor Loreto S. Amante. The recipients are the 80…

Posted by DepEd Tayo San Pablo City on Monday, August 10, 2020

 

Based on the pictures, the laptops that were turned over carried the TUF Gaming brand. TUF Gaming is a sub-brand of computer manufacturer Asus.

Brand-new TUF Gaming laptops usually cost double a regular laptop and are built for “serious gaming and real-world durability.”

Gaming laptops
What are gaming laptops? (Interaksyon research)

The most inexpensive laptop on the line is the TUF Gaming FX505DY-AL226T model that has a standard retail price of P38,995, based on its product guide for May to June 2020.

Reports note that other configurations of the TUF Gaming series of laptops could go as high as P79,995, which has good processors and video cards, as well as bigger storage space.

Concerns, justifications

Some Filipinos questioned the need for a gaming laptop for educational purposes, claiming that more needy students would’ve been able to benefit from the initiative if cheaper laptops were given to the learning resource coordinators.

“So basically provide TUF Gaming laptops for educational use? Interesting form of educational choice of laptop,” a Facebook user wrote.

“This machine is not for (a) government project. Could have bought Lenovo for business and save money to something more useful,” another online user wrote.

“Mas marami pa sana mga bata ang nabigyan (ng) laptop if above minimum requirements lang specs nung laptop,” wrote a Facebook user.

“Justifiable naman ata ‘to kapag engineering or IT (information technology) students ang gagamit kasi maganda ang specs ng TUF. But for simple online schooling, this is overkill,” commented another online user.

It is to be noted that learning resource coordinators were the majority recipients of the laptops.

Another Facebook user claimed such personnel “usually” use “resource-intensive apps” but didn’t elaborate on it.

“Usually resource intensive apps ang ginagamit nila and para mapataas ang productivity rate nila, kailangan nila ng stable at reliable na system under full workload,” he wrote.

“Kung titipirin mo budget mo, titipirin mo ung productivity ng LRC (learning resource coordinator) hence, damay damay na sa learning system since sila ang nag-di-distribute ng learning materials online para sa mga district teachers,” the online user added.

Another Facebook user also claimed that learning resource coordinators are not “simple teachers.”

“Sila ‘yung in charge sa mga illustrations, editing, etc ng mga learning modules. Sabi ng co-teacher ko na LR coordinator, hindi ubra ‘yung mababang specs sa apps na gamit niya for editing. I don’t know kung swak itong gaming laptop for editing purposes,” she wrote.

“Pero nag-comment lang ako dahil I know hindi ubra ‘yung mababang specs sa ginagawa ng mga LR coors (coordinators). Hindi po simpleng pang-online classes or word processing ‘yung kailangan nila,” the online user added.

RELATED: Donating gadgets to students? Here are the minimum specs recommended by DepEd

A look at other cases

The questions come at a time when purchases and expenditures of the government are being questioned.

Two months ago, a list of items procured by the local government unit of Iligan City in Northern Mindanao in 2018 went viral for its high costs.

Items that were reportedly listed include “two external hard drives worth P71,318 each and an Ab Rocket Total Abs Workout for P141,964.”

Recently, state-run health insurer Philippine Health Insurance Corporation also graced national headlines for the alleged corruption of its top officials, as claimed by its former anti-fraud legal officer Thorrsson Keith. 

“What we found at PhilHealth is the crime of the year due to the syndication of the distribution of cash advance, the interim reimbursement mechanism, and the repeated overpricing of purchased IT equipment,” Keith said in a Senate hearing last week.

His resignation, wherein he cited “widespread corruption” within the agency, has prompted the Senate, the House of Representatives and Malacañang to launch its own investigations into the matter.

PhilHealth’s executives were accused of reportedly stealing P15 billion from its funds but it was denied by PhilHealth president Ricardo Morales who said that Keith made the claims after being denied of a higher office.

Morales was also questioned for the overpriced items, including laptops worth more than P100 million wherein he responded that he is not an IT expert.