By Sharlaine Kate Gumayat

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) failed to hand out thousands of unused gadgets amounting to almost P93 million pesos, according to the Commission on Audit (COA).

Photo Courtesy of COA/DICT/Stock Photo

In COA's annual audit report, a total of 866 laptops and 12,482 tablets were purchased by DICT in 2020 and 2021 for Cybersafe Learning for Education (CLE) Project.

With CLE Project's Phase 2 aimed to minimize the disparity among all socioeconomic levels, the agency warned that the procured devices meant to support distance learning during the pandemic might become obsolete if not distributed soon.

State auditors also stated that oversupply and overstocking were the results of DICT's inability to determine beneficiaries prior to the acquisition of the devices.

On the other hand, CLE's project manager explained that due to lack of compliance such as the requirement for the contact person and other demands to be given by the intended beneficiaries, several people were allocated but have not yet been released.

Still, COA affirmed that the DICT had not provided the documents required for the distribution of the gadgets to verify that the anticipated recipients obtained the units.

“To date, the department has not submitted yet its monitoring and status of deployed ICT devices, necessary for post-evaluation of the CLE program, in order to assess the effectiveness, impact and relevance of the project,” COA said.

The DICT then agreed to follow recommendations made by state auditors, such as to compel the Chief Accountant and the Property Officer the submission of property documents, strengthen the information drive about ICT device availability while coordinating with the Department of Education (DepEd), and request a copy of direct beneficiaries distribution list from receiving agencies or organizations.

Edited by Audrei Jeremy Mendador