Department of Education Undersecretary Alain Pascua said DepEd procured 166 Strada 4×4 GLS MT trucks, which costs P1.5 million per unit, even before the COVID-19 pandemic so DepEd personnel could reach schools in remote areas.
According to Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp. (MMPC), it delivered 166 units to DepEd. The department said the engineers would use the trucks for field inspection.
MMPC added the additional units were on top of the Strada trucks turned over to DepEd last December 5, 2019, bringing 254 vehicles.
“They (Mitsubishi) won in the competitive bidding. Theirs is the lowest,” Pascua told ABS-CBN News.
“When we were about to distribute them, naabutan ng ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) kaya kailan lang yan nai-distribute,” he added.
(When we were about to distribute the vehicles, the government implemented the enhanced community quarantine. That’s why they were distributed only recently.)
Pascua added that the trucks were used during the ECQ period to transport frontliners due to the public transportation ban.
“Prior to school opening and even until now, those vehicles have been used and are being used in the delivery of modules, in transporting teachers, and in addressing emergencies,” he said.
DepEd defends purchase of 166 Mitsubishi Strada for its field engineers
Meanwhile, the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) slammed on Monday DepED for buying new service vehicles, saying it was an “insensible” use of funds at a time when teachers have been shouldering the costs of implementing remote learning.
“We were anguished with this insensible use of education money, especially when our teachers shoulder the costs for bond paper, ink, devices, and internet connectivity needed just to make modular and online learning happen amid the pandemic,” ACT Secretary-General Raymond Basilio said in a statement.
“This is the DepEd’s own kind of the dolomite scam,” Basilio added, referring to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ artificial P389-million white-sand beach project in Manila Bay.
Basilio did accept DepEd’s explanation that the Strada trucks were purchased before the pandemic since the education system was suffering from “shortages” in basic learning needs for long years.