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TESDA chief comes clean on ‘ghost scholars’

Posted On 2014 Aug 04
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Students pray on the first day of classes at Casili Elementary School in Rodriguez, Rizal province, east of Manila June 2, 2014. Around 23 million students were present for the opening of the new school year in the Philippines, the Department of Education reported on Monday.  (MNS photo)

Students pray on the first day of classes at Casili Elementary School in Rodriguez, Rizal province, east of Manila June 2, 2014. Around 23 million students were present for the opening of the new school year in the Philippines, the Department of Education reported on Monday. (MNS photo)

MANILA (Mabuhay) – The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) debunked Thursday claims of irregularities in its use of funds from the disbursement acceleration program (DAP).

TESDA Secretary General Joel Villanueva said contrary to a report by the Commission on Audit that part of the controversial fund may have financed 61 “ghost scholars” in 2011, an internal investigation revealed only 38 were questionable due to double availments.

He also said TESDA has ordered schools that failed to implement the scholarship program to return the money allotted to them.

“We closed some of the programs in schools. In Quezon City about 8 or 12. One in Metro Manila. It was corrected and COA agreed with us. This is why they did not issue a notice of suspension or disallowance,” he said.

[One school] said they had two shiftings. [Gusto kumita ng extra]. What we did is pinabalik natin. P40,000 binalik sa National Treasury.”

In the COA report, the agency noted that 61 scholars “attended multiple training courses which were held simultaneously.”

Meanwhile, Villanueva said out of the total P1.1 billion in DAP funds released to TESDA in October 2011, only 3 percent or P38 million was unutilized. This is lower than the P109 million unutilized DAP the COA had reported.

P38 million po ang nakita natin. We showed this to COA and they agreed and P38 million is 3% of the total funding. It was returned to the National Treasury. Wala pong nawala,” he said.

Villanueva said some 223,000 TESDA graduates benefited from DAP, 146,000 of whom are now gainfully employed. (MNS)

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