Hysterical outrage is only a mild form of reaction when we learned that the Department of Education unashamedly squandered its 2007 budget amounting in hundreds of millions of pesos and sold the future of our children to the devils of ignorance and poverty. That government arm seems to be more wicked than the Department of Public Works and Highways. At least the DPWH should now be applauded as lesser evil among legions of vampires in Arroyo's empire compared to its cousin, the Department of Misappropriation, or DepEd, for short.
A review of DepEd's 2007 budget, the Congressional Planning and Budget Department (CPBD) found, shows shocking festival of wasted public funds. DepEd, if the CPBD's report were to be believed, sucked the last blood of the country's hope of improving the lives of our people through globally competitive education by buying garbage educational tools and spending totally worthless projects.
"Information and multi-media equipment packages amounting to no less than P667.95 million were neither utilized nor maximized for classroom instructions in 13 regions because they were either defective or distributed to schools which were not strictly selected in accordance with the approved criteria, resulting in the wasteful storage or utilization of the units," the CPBD reported as bannered by GMA News TV this week.
Perhaps DepEd's top officials have not heard of the globalization buzz. That in order to be highly competitive in today's borderless business environment and free world market, every country must embrace the power of technology and information superhighway. Neglect technological advancement and the country will be doomed to extinction in today's digital era.
DepEd is exactly putting the country in the path of economic destruction. By depriving our children of high-tech tools, DepEd is cutting off our children's bridge to the future.
Another shocking revelation is that "84,254 sets of tables and chairs and 150,748 armchairs costing P197 million were allocated to 2,777 elementary and 899 secondary schools that already had adequate seat provisions from 2004-2007 instead of giving them to 2,764 elementary and secondary schools with acute seat shortages," again as reported by GMA News TV.
As if the parade of DepEd's cannibalism isn't long enough, this Department of Misappropriation caused "the number of undistributed textbooks (to have) decreased from 2006 to 2007, a total of 1,275,056 copies of unused textbooks or manuals costing at least P57.3 million remained stored in school stockrooms or libraries in 2007."
The CPBD, as reported by GMA News, also found that "acute classroom shortages in 2,929 schools were also left unaddressed because school building projects worth at least P597.796 million were spent instead on 1,329 school sites that had the least need for buildings and classrooms."
By next year, by the way, our shameless DepEd will get a huge pie of the national budget at P167.94 billion. Will DepEd forget that in 2008 it received P149.25 billion and much of it went down the drain?
Who will be held responsible for such heartless wastage of public funds? Not our ordinary teachers, of course. They don't hold the pen that signs blood-stained government contracts. Our school teachers are already suffering from low salary and they have become innocent hosts to DepEd's wicked schemes.
If no one would be sent to jail and DepEd would continue to bask in barbaric waste, the country is in extreme danger of losing its competitiveness in the world. Our national economy has been sustained by remittances of Filipinos working abroad. Today's children, admittedly, are tomorrow's OFWs . Once our education system becomes a horror picture of wasteland, not only that we would lose opportunities in the booming outsourcing industry, we would also lose our attractiveness as excellent source of manpower abroad.
DepEd's immoral, if not absolutely demonic, habit of wasting public funds has far-reaching consequences in both short and long terms. Our people, by all means, should stop DepEd from killing our nation softly. - Editorial, The Bohol Standard