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SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau

Inquiry on unused, error-filled textbooks backed by Minority bloc
14 August 2019 04:12:13 PM

The Minority bloc in the House of Representatives on Wednesday agreed to support a resolution calling for an investigation, in aid of legislation, of alleged anomalies at the Department of Education, based on the Commission on Audit (COA) findings on DepEd text books.

During a press briefing, House Minority Leader Bienvenido Abante (6th District, Manila), told reporters that the upcoming inquiry is based on a 2018 COA report that revealed more than three million text books amounting to P113 million were left unused in the agency’s warehouse and about P254 million Grade 3 learning materials were filled with errors.

“If the COA report is accurate, then I believe everyone can agree that this kind of waste is simply unacceptable, especially for an agency that has to maximize its resources,” said Abante.

Abante noted that members of the Minority bloc were concerned about the recurring problems in the procurement of learning materials for public school students.

He said that they want to examine the manner in which the learning materials were procured to identify the “problematic areas” that need to be addressed.

“We need to find out if this problem is a result of a flawed procurement system or the product of poor or maybe even corrupt management. This will allow us to propose remedies that will prevent these situations from recurring in the future,” said Abante.

Rep. Irene Gay Saulog (Party-list, Kalinga) called on the DepEd to address the findings of the COA and heed its recommendations as contained in the audit report.

“We are alarmed by the COA findings as reported in the media. We all agree that the quality of learning materials has a direct impact on the kind of education received by the students,” said Saulog.

Saulog said the error-filled materials adversely affect not only the education of the students but also impose additional burden to the teachers.

An educator by profession, Saulog said “it (inquiry) should not only focus on the content of the text books, but also we have to give attention to the delivery so that public school text books will be equally distributed.”

Rep. Victoria Umali (Party-list, A-Teacher), said there was a message form DepEd in answering their query about the text books issue.

Umali said the matter is a long-time problem.

“So, I guess we should really look into this because we’ve been wasting a lot of money. I guess this is a valid reason why we should have this investigated,” said Umali.

“Very simple. Unang-una, nagtuturo tayo ng mali. Mali yung nakalagay sa text book, nagtuturo din ang DepEd ng mali sa pagtanggap ng mali,” said veteran legislator Rep. Arnolfo Teves (3rd District, Negros Oriental).

On another issue, Abante assured that the Minority will properly scrutinize the Tax Reform for Attracting Better and High-quality Opportunity (TRABAHO) proposal, several versions of which have been refiled in the 18th Congress.

“This measure will have a huge impact on the economic fortunes of our country, and will get the attention and scrutiny it warrants. We can all get behind the objectives of the bill which are to attract investments and encourage business in the country,” stressed Abante.

However, he said they have to ensure it will be done without adversely affecting government revenues which are needed to support vital government programs.

According to him, the Department of Finance (DoF) assured members of the Minority that the measure would be revenue neutral.

The House of Representatives approved the TRABAHO bill on third and final reading during 17th Congress. It seeks to reduce the current 30 percent corporate income tax (CIT) rate by two percentage points every two years from 2021 to 2029 until it reaches 20 percent. Eddie Galvez, News and Documentation Section-Press and Public Affairs Bureau/ House of Representatives of the Philippines