By Joey Natividad
CITY OF NAGA, Bicol Region, 18Jan2016 (BicolToday.com) – This time, the Commission on Audit (COA) reported the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) must explain on what it did to billions of pesos of “pork” given by Malacanang, and why it failed to spend another billion pesos for college scholarships.
Reacting to latest COA report, League of Filipino Students (LFS) slammed CHED on Thursday for the P3.13 billion unliquidated funds received from the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) and the unspent P1.23 billion appropriated for college scholarships in 2014.
Earlier this week, COA released a report that there have been a lot of anomalies in the fund received by CHED due to “internal control weaknesses”.
The report also stated several “deficiencies” such as double or multiple payments, cash advances that cannot be verified to have been received by beneficiaries, delayed releases of allowances, and unclaimed checks.
“While students and their parents suffer from the yearly unabated tuition and other school fees increases, the CHED officials seem to enjoy raking profit out of people’s money,” said LFS National Chairperson Charisse Bañez, informing Sunday online news BicolToday.com.
Bañez said that instead of providing free public education, CHED and Aquino have been busy in making money at the expense of the youth’s right to education.
“Clearly, Aquino and his alter-ego on higher education have been exploiting their positions to turn education as a lucrative business,” stressed Bañez.
“We recall the cases of Kristel Tejada, Rosanna Sanfuego, Jhoemary Azuala, and Nilna Habinun who committed suicide brought about skyrocketing tuition and other school fees. To have funds spent on the filling of pockets of CHED officials rather than providing free public education makes these cases more infuriating,” said Bañez.
Bañez demanded that BS Aquino, CHED Chairperson Patricia Licuanan, and others involved in the unliquidated and unspent fund should be held accountable. The youth leader stressed for their immediate removal.
Bañez also pointed out that this is one of the problems with scholarships, grants-in-aid, and study-now-pay-later schemes of the government.
She stressed that these policies do not increase access on education but rather provide opportunities for capitalist-educators to exploit for increasing profit.
The youth leader noted that if the government is really serious about granting the youth’s right to education, then instead of implementing these “band-aid solutions” prone to corruption, the public funds should be used for a free public education.
Bañez noted that stopping tuition increases and scrapping other school fees are steps in pushing for a mass-oriented education.
“We will have more protests. We demand accountability from CHED and the Aquino regime and cannot allow them to go scot-free. We will also launch different actions to stop tuition increases and junk all other school fees,” Bañez said. [BicolToday.com]