Manila, Philippines – Errors here. Errors there. Errors everywhere.

After the Department of Education (DepEd) was called out by the Commission on Audit (COA) to explain about the wasted textbooks due to their erroneous content, the Minority bloc in the House of Representatives vowed to support an investigation.

In a press briefing, House Minority Leader Bienvenido Abante (6th District, Manila) said that the upcoming inquiry is based on a 2018 COA report that revealed more than three million textbooks worth Php113 million were left unused in the agency’s warehouse, with about Php254 million Grade 3 learning materials full of 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.

He further noted that members of the Minority bloc were concerned about the problems in the procurement of learning materials for public school students, which has been a recurring problem.

Abante said that the bloc wants to look precisely into how 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,” the Minority leader said.

Rep. Irene Gay Saulog of Kalinga partylist meanwhile 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.

The lawmaker said the error-filled materials are like a double edged-axe: adversely affecting not only the education of the students but also imposing an additional burden on the teachers.

Saulog, who is also an educator, said “The inquiry should not only focus on the content of the textbooks, but also we have to give attention to the delivery so that public school textbooks will be equally distributed.”

Rep. Victoria Umali of A-Teacher partylist said the textbook issue has been a long-time problem, and must be looked into as the printed educational materials cost a big amount of money.

“This is a valid reason why we should have this investigated,” the lawmaker said.

Photo courtesy: Filipinas Heritage Library

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