The Commission on Audit (COA) last week called out National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) for buying 44 high-end smartphones for their officials which are not used for actual projects.
According to the state auditor, the central and Metro Manila offices of NTC procured Samsung Galaxy S9 and S10 phones in the last two years, for P2.1 million. Each one cost anywhere upwards of P45,000.
These units were issued to directors and officers-in-charge, who did not do performance testing. Only four were actually being used for monitoring telecom network speed, reliability and coverage. None of them were issued mission orders, which conducted validation and measurement of broadband speed.
COA also added that only three out of 13 NTC engineers who do the tests were given smartphones.
NTC for their part admitted that they did give these phones to officials and that they were using them to check broadband services as regular users, conducting tests at any time or place in order to better craft policies and regulations.
However, COA questioned how well this technique really helped with policy-making, as none of these executives presented reports reflecting this.
Photo: Elmer Domingo