MANILA - Sen. Panfilo Lacson questioned another “lump sum” fund in the proposed national budget for 2020.
During the plenary debates on the Commission on Higher Education’s (CHED) P51.36-B appropriation, Lacson asked why there is an additional “lump sum” amount of P8.516-B for tertiary education scholarships, when there is already an existing 43.8-B for the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Program.
“If there’s a budget that CHED doesn’t know about, may scholarships outside Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Program,” Lacson noted after budget proponent Sen. Pia Cayetano clarified P3.285-B of this will go to the Tertiary Education Subsidy (TES), while the balance is a “lump sum” fund.
Lacson warned the subject funds may still go to the Tulong Dunong or grants-in-aid for college students program, as he pointed out that under the agency’s proposed 2020 budget, special provision no. 3 states that TES shall cover beneficiaries under Tulong Dunong.
He also showed slides of several congressional representatives’ social media posts asking qualified students to apply for college education subsidy.
Cayetano explained that CHED still ultimately approves the applications.
“The problem here is, my question here is - how could CHED monitor or supervise because they wouldn’t know who are the scholars if congressmen are the ones vetting and receiving applications?” Lacson asked.
In the end, Lacson and Cayetano agreed to incorporate the entirety of the P8.516-B questioned funds into the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Program, in order to have just one pool of funds for tertiary education support.
To date, 400,000 scholars are set to benefit from the assistance.