That’s a lot of money
After PhilHealth’s (probable) attempt to recreate life with their 21M Adobe software, it’s the Department of Health’s (DOH) turn to explore the limits of technology.
The agency was recently flagged by the Commission on Audit for its PHP 67 billion worth of ‘deficiencies’ in pandemic funds. Given the Philippines’ struggle in dealing with COVID-19 nearly two years into the crisis, the idea that billions of funds have been either misused or underused faced a harsh pvblic backlash.
One of the highlights of the audit is the DOH’s procurement of four high-end laptops with accessories, amounting to PHP 700,000 or PHP 175,000 each. Now we don’t claim to be tech savants, but one-hundred-freaking-seventy-five thousand for a laptop is a bit too much, even if our government workers turned out to be lowkey gamers.
To compare, we did a quick online canvas of gaming laptops, with the price range somewhere between PHP50K – PHP85k. The closest rig to DOH’s price tag that we could think of would be the Predator Orion 9000, a gaming desktop that clocks in at a whopping PHP 1 million.
We imagine office laptops would cost even less, given that NVIDIA graphic cards and triple monitors aren’t exactly a must for filing and documentation purposes. The specs on the bid tell as much, as they seem to be the average lappy designed to run everyday programs such as Word or Excel.
If the DOH is somehow making an AI that can solve the pandemic, sure, go nuts. But if not, this isn’t it.
Undersecretary Leopold Vega has since announced that the DOH has shelved the plan to procure the laptops, citing the need to hold a ‘further market study’ on the market price for the devices. But in case this all gets swept under the rug once the furor dies down, we’re hoping the DOH drops an unboxing video just to satisfy our curiosity.