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MANILA, Philippines – Las Piñas-based logistic firm Transpac has allowed the Department of Education (DepEd) to haul its billions of pesos worth of learning materials which the department said were being held “hostage” by the company.
“Sometime in the first week of December 2023, the DepEd was in receipt of a letter from Transpac suddenly informing DepEd that it may now haul the goods stored in its warehouses,” the DepEd said in a statement on Friday, December 15.
On December 3, Rappler published an investigative report showing that some P3 billion worth of learning materials were held hostage due to non-payment of warehousing fees.
The DepEd said that when they received Transpac’s notice, regional units immediately started hauling them.
“Our Regional and Division offices have immediately started hauling the goods. The DepEd aims to completely haul and deliver the goods to our public schools in the next few weeks,” the DepEd added.
It was the previous administration, under former education secretary Leonor Briones, that entered into a P667-million logistics agreement with Transpac. But the facilitation and implementation of the agreement have overlapped with the current term of DepEd administration of Vice President Sara Duterte.
“For context, the services of Transpac Logistics were procured by DepEd back in 2021. Under its contract, Transpac shall provide DepEd with logistics, warehousing, and tagging services from October 8, 2021 to June 30, 2022,” the DepEd said.
Due to the failure of Transpac to deliver the goods completely and on time, the parties held several discussions for the fulfillment of Transpac’s obligations.
The logistics firm had been holding off distribution for the supposed still unsettled warehousing fees. DepEd spokesperson Michael Poa said it could not just pay Transpac because the firm has not yet distributed the materials to intended beneficiaries.
According to the DepEd-Transpac contract obtained from the agency’s own website, “logistics services,” which includes warehousing, were supposed to be part of the agreement.
The DepEd spokesperson said that while the contract covers some warehousing, the department could only make payments for specific services outlined in the contract.
Rappler reached out to Transpac for comment but they refused, saying on November 30 that they were not interested to be interviewed.
The DepEd appealed to the public to “remain vigilant against the spread of false and misleading information” about the issue.
The Rappler report was a product of months-long investigation and digging into government contracts which started in June. – Rappler.com