DOH cancels purchase of 'high-end' laptops worth ₱700K

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 18) - The Department of Health has cancelled its purchase of four "high-end 2-in-1 laptops" worth ₱700,000.

Dr. Eric Tayag, director of the DOH's Knowledge Management and Information Technology Service, said the department canceled the purchase as one Baguio hospital needed funds.

"Ang latest update po diyan, una po kinancel na po namin 'yan sapagkat naghahanap kami ng funds para sa kailangan po ng aming CHD (Centers for Health Development), particularly diyan po sa Baguio General Hospital Medical Center dahil kailangan po nila ng IT support," he told senators during an inquiry on Wednesday.

[Translation: The latest update is we already canceled the procurement, because we are looking for funds for our CHD, particularly in Baguio General Hospital Medical Center. They need IT support.]

A document from the DOH's Bids and Awards Committee dated Aug. 4 indicated the request for the "overpriced" laptops.

The procurement was earlier put on hold "pending the result of further market study and prevailing market price for these laptops," according to Health Undersecretary Leopoldo Vega.

Tayag said his office requested the laptops for their developers as they need to upgrade the ones they have.

"Kasi kami yung gumagawa ng registry po. Halimbawa, yung bakuna registry. Kailangan po naming mailagay po at ma-visualize para maiparating po sa mga policy makers kung ano na po yung datos at kailangan na po, sapagkat may analytics din po," he said.

[Translation: We are the ones working on a registry. For example, the vaccine registry. We need to input and visualize the data for the policy makers and we need them because we also do analytics.]

"Kailangan po namin talaga ng mas upgraded na computer po. Kung hindi po, kung ordinaryo lang, mabagal," Tayag added.

[Translation: We really need an upgraded computer. Because if we will only use ordinary ones, they're slow.]

When asked for the brand of the laptops, Tayag said they only put the specifications as they are not allowed to indicate the brand on the request document.

The document went viral after the Commission on Audit (COA) flagged "deficiencies" in the DOH's handling of pandemic funds woth ₱67.3 billion.