THE DEPARTMENT of Health (DoH) on Monday said it had postponed a plan to buy four multipurpose laptops worth P700,000 pending a market study.

The agency plans to buy the computers “for knowledge management and information technology” purposes, said Health Undersecretary Leopold J. Vega in a virtual news briefing.

“The procurement transaction was put on hold pending the result of further market study and the prevailing market price for these laptops,” he said.

The procurement plan was halted after social media users criticized and circulated a document from a DoH panel tasked to lead the bidding process for the purchase of the high-end laptops.

Under the document’s “purchaser’s specification,” each laptop should be branded and have at least a 10th Gen Intel Core i5 processor.

Each laptop should have a USB-C mobile adapter, a stereo headset and other accessories such as a laptop sleeve and bag, HDMI cable and a Bluetooth mouse.

State auditors earlier released a report flagging “various deficiencies” in DoH’s funds worth P67.3 billion, which “contributed to the challenges encountered and missed opportunities” amid a coronavirus pandemic. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza