SECRETARY Leonor Briones of the Department of Education (DepEd) should be ashamed of herself. Buying 254 units of Mitsubishi pickups with a price tag of P1.4-million each (https://www.topgear.com.ph/news/industry-news/2020-mitsubishi-strada-specs-prices-features-a962-20201023) is not only anomalous but patently scandalous given the fiscal problems that the government is facing today.
I do not know where the priorities of Secretary Briones are but buying that many vehicles against the backdrop of teachers struggling to climb to rooftops of school buildings to get internet signals and soliciting money to buy coupon bonds and to print modules for distant learning is simply immoral. Is it that it was only last year that they purchased 88 units of pickups, too?
This deal becomes scandalous given the various obligations the government has to settle and to prepare for on account of the lingering pandemic the nation is reeling under. What madness had seized the officials of DepEd that they thought they deserve this comfort in a time of crisis?
If President Rodrigo Duterte is looking for a problem he need not look far. It is right in his Cabinet. The country is composed of 17 regions and each of these will be getting 19 brand new spanking pickups. For what? The contemptible excuse: to be used for inspection by DepEd engineers! You need motorcycles for that kind of job. Any which way you look at this, Ms. Briones just provided the opposition and critics a veritable fodder to assail Duterte.
The last thing that this government can afford in times of extreme difficulties is a blatant and shameless display of profligacy. Is Briones not aware that the President of the Republic of the Philippines is still using a 20-year old pick-up? Other government offices have to contend with 10-year old hand-me-down vehicles. Okay, so DepEd needs vehicles but this is the first time I heard that maybe even the janitors will be assigned one