August 17, 2021

As soon as I was informed of this report from the Commission on Audit, I immediately directed our offices concerned to collate all the documents pertaining to this report in order for us to properly respond to the matter.

As far as I know, out of the total P160,083,401.61, the amount of P147,383,401.61 were releases to the Regional Offices. These funds were sourced out from the TESDA Centrally Managed Funds, specifically from TESDA scholarship funds as reflected in TESDA’s budget FY 2020 GAA.

On the other hand, the amount of P12.7 million balance from the P160 million were taken from the P45.9 million budget for the implementation of EO 70 allocated by DBM which are intended for the operating expenses for 17 regions.  The allocation in question were spent for various scholarship and livelihood programs for the beneficiaries such as: members of the communist terrorist groups who decided to return to the government’s fold, residents various geographically isolated and disadvantaged communities, including indigenous peoples in far-flung areas of the country. This fund in question was used in order for them to live a normal life again.

The P6 million fund augmentation for Regional Office12 is part of the P12.7 million budget allocation to some regions. The said amount per COA report pertains to the budget allocation and not “were used” as alleged by Rappler.

For the information of the public, TESDA chairs the Poverty Reduction, Livelihood, and Employment Cluster (PRLEC) as well as the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC-12). That is the reason why TESDA is actively involved in the various programs of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC). We also have existing protocols to ensure proper and lawful disbursement of funds and has submitted all the documents to COA to support our disbursements.

Nevertheless, we are currently coordinating with COA in order to resolve this issue.

We will release a detailed report on this matter as soon as possible.