TESDA vows to complete probe on unfunded scholarships by June

03 May 2011

The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) has its hands full in completing in June the audit of close to P1-billion unfunded scholarship vouchers issued by its previous administration.

TESDA Director General Joel Villanueva said they have been directed by President Benigno Aquino III to exert all effort to finish the audit and report their recommendation on the matter.

“We were directed by the President to finish the audit by June and recommend whether to pay the alleged debts or to file the necessary administrative or criminal charges against the previous administration of TESDA, or do both,” Villanueva said.

“Somebody should be held accountable for this mess,” he added.

In his Labor Day speech, Aquino also instructed Budget Secretary Florencio Abad Jr. to look for sources of funds to help the agency fulfill one of its mandate of giving free technical and vocational skills training to deserving students.

TESDA was allocated only P700 million for its scholarship program this year. In 2009, when the anomaly happened, it had a budget of close to P6 billion.

An audit team within the agency earlier conducted an inventory and found that from a high of P2 billion, only P970 million worth of scholarship vouchers issued to various recipients were legitimate.

Villanueva said that there were requests from the previous TESDA administration to Malacanang to release P2.4 billion for the scholarships.

"When we conducted a thorough analysis and audit, as of today only around P970 million worth of scholarship appear to be valid, the rest are presumably ghost recipients," he said.

Villanueva lamented that the previous leadership continued distributing vouchers in 2009 to prospective trainees even when the agency had already run out of budget.

“We will exert all effort to resolve this so that our scholars would not feel they were duped. We remain committed to providing free training to tap the skills of our students for their future employment,” he said.

Villanueva also urged all Technical Vocational Institutions that were affected by the irregularity to come out and help TESDA in filing necessary charges, if warranted.

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