AN Education official yesterday defended the agency’s purchase of 166 Mitsubishi Strada trucks, saying the vehicles are being used in the delivery of modules, transporting teachers, and in addressing emergencies.
In a Viber message, DepEd Undersecretary Alain Pascua said the vehicles are also being used by the agency’s engineers in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
DepEd Undersecretary for Finance Anne Sevilla said the procurement of the vehicles was approved in 2018 and 2019 but the vehicles were delivered only in late 2019 and early 2020 before the pandemic struck.
Sevilla said the savings of the agency were used to purchase the vehicles mainly for the use of their engineers.
The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines had slammed the DepEd over the purchase of the vehicles “at a time when the agency could not even provide the basic needs of distance learning amid the pandemic.”
Pascua said the clamor for service vehicles came up during the national conference of DepEd engineers and architects at the Development Academy of the Philippines in Tagaytay City in December 2016.
“The need for service vehicles was highlighted with stories of DepEd field engineers riding with school building contractors when monitoring projects in far flung areas,” Pascua said.
On December 5, 2019, the DepEd distributed the first 88 units of the truck to its regional and division offices, according to Sevilla.
Sevilla added that starting this month, passengers vans have been distributed to regional directors and schools division superintendents to transport their personnel, equipment, supplies, products, and materials. – Noel Talacay