Commission on Audit

COA finds P70M worth of unused lab equipment in Central Luzon State University

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COA finds P70M worth of unused lab equipment in Central Luzon State University
The Commission on Audit says the unused equipment could have improved the university's research capabilities

MANILA, Philippines – At least P70 million worth of laboratory equipment purchased by the Central Luzon State University (CLSU) in 2021 were found unused and stored away, the Commission on Audit (COA) found.

According to an audit report for 2023 that was made public on May 2, 2024, the university’s research capabilities could have been raised to par with those of other educational institutions by utilizing these unused resources.

The random inspection by state auditors found P59.8 million worth of lab equipment meant for the Center for Transboundary Animal Diseases, a planned project between CLSU and the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) of the Department of Agriculture. 

The most expensive is a P28-million NEXTSEQ Genome Sequencer which is now unusable due to missing parts. This reflects the general warning of state auditors about the deteriorated state of the equipment due to years of unuse and poor storage, aside from expired warranties from manufacturers. 

“Non-utilization of these equipment and continuous storage in their shipping crates or boxes exposes the items to undue heat and humidity that could lead to possible corrosion and other elements that may affect their operational efficiency,” state auditors said.

CAO also emphasized that “the high level of sophistication” of the unused equipment “can provide almost the same services as that of the Philippine Genome Center or the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine when fully operational.” Its estimated investment and opportunity losses could reach P180 million in 2023.

CLSU also was not able to use P10.3-million worth of equipment that was supposed to make test kits for African Swine Fever (ASF). COA found that the equipment “were installed and used initially for some time in 2022 but were currently idle,” and that this was due to “the drastic decline in the demand for rapid test kits” for ASF.

State auditors urged the university management to work with the DA’s BAI to “clarify the direction, supervision, staffing, operational direction, and possible diagnostic and regulatory services to cater public and private entities.” It also used CLSU to facilitate training for its staff to ensure proper handling and utilization of equipment. –

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