Kris Ablan, the former undersecretary of the Department of Education (DepEd) in the Philippines, has confirmed his resignation, according to Philstar.com. Ablan stated that his resignation, which became effective on April 28, had nothing to do with the Transpac or laptop reports by Rappler. Despite multiple attempts to reach out to Ablan, Rappler received no response.
Rappler published a two-part investigation on May 1 and 2 about how laptops purchased by DepEd ended up for sale in retail stores and on Facebook marketplace. The first part of the investigation revealed how negligence and possible corruption within DepEd, under the previous president Rodrigo Duterte, caused the laptops intended for public school teachers to be sold in retail stores. The second part of the investigation exposed how the choice of a small logistics provider in Las Piñas was harmful to the public interest.
Ablan was not part of the DepEd when the contract with Transpac, the logistics provider, was signed. However, a November 2022 demand letter from Transpac, obtained by Rappler, was addressed to him when he was already DepEd undersecretary of administration.
Ablan informed Philstar.com that he would respond to the allegations in the reports to clear his name. Rappler has been attempting to contact Ablan to no avail.
The DepEd Computerization Program (DCP) aims to provide public schools with computer equipment, software, and internet connectivity. The program is essential to the Philippines’ K-12 basic education system. The DepEd’s mission is to provide equitable access to quality education for all Filipinos. However, reports of corruption and negligence within the DepEd undermine this goal.
In recent years, the DepEd has been embroiled in numerous corruption scandals, including the anomalous awarding of contracts to suppliers for textbooks and other learning materials. The department has been criticized for a lack of transparency and accountability in its procurement processes.
The misuse of funds allocated to the DepEd undermines the government’s efforts to provide quality education to all Filipinos. It is crucial that the Philippine government addresses these issues and holds those responsible accountable. Without accountability, the trust of the public in the education system will continue to erode, and the goal of equitable access to quality education for all Filipinos will remain elusive.