By Jennylou Canon


Over ₱8 billion deficiencies have been found in the Department of Education’s (DepEd) COVID-19 funds usage, the Commission on Audit (COA) said.

COA’s 2020 annual audit report showed that out of the ₱16.105 billion, ₱8.137 billion was flagged due to undisbursed funds and flawed delivery and procurement of self-learning modules (SLMs), and the ₱11.965 billion, meanwhile, was distributed to DepEd’s regional offices.

According to COA, the ₱676.255 million SLMs were not completed by year-end of 2020, and were said to be due to deficient planning, poor monitoring of deliveries, and other supplier-related issues.

Delayed SLM deliveries were also said to have contributed to the deprivation of “better learning opportunity,” thus, contrasting DepEd’s goal to “ensure the continued provision of basic education to elementary and high school students without the traditional face-to-face classes due to the threats of coronavirus.”

“Considering the urgency and importance of the printed materials, the incomplete/non-availability of modules on the period in which it is supposed to be used deprived the learners of better learning opportunity and hampers the continuity of the learning process of students during this time of pandemic contrary to the program’s objective,” the COA said.

COA also bared that DepEd’s delivered SLMs had poor printing quality, had factual, typographical, grammatical/syntax, and computation errors, and unclear instructions were seen in the ₱90.228 million modules in National Capital Region (NCR), Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), and Central Luzon (Region III).

COA also found ₱4.009 billion disbursements, procurements, and transactions funds “doubtful” as it lacked necessary documents such as perfected contracts, purchase orders, and other needed documents by RA 9184 or the Government Procurement Reform Act.

Regional offices of CAR, Regions I, IV-B, V, VI, VII, and IX were not able to use the P396.29 million procurement funds due to delayed issuance of sub-allotment release orders.

COA also called out regional offices of NCR, Regions III, VI, VII,  VIII, and XIII due to their unaccounted and baseless usage of ₱518.883 million total funds.

Meanwhile, DepEd Undersecretary for Finance Annalyn Sevilla said that they are yet to submit needed adjustments in the audit report.

“Only 2.88 percent or ₱15.5 billion of that (₱537.85 billion DepEd funds for 2020) is due for adjustment entries, submission of supporting documents, reconciliations, and others,” Sevilla said.

Report source: ONE News