Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Chairperson Patricia B. Licuanan denied claims by ACT party list Rep. Antonio L. Tinio of the Commission’s involvement with the Aquino government on the use of PDAF funds despite the Supreme Court’s ruling on its unconstitutionality.
In a press statement released by CHED, Licuanan explained that the Commission, being one of the agencies of the Executive Department, has been tasked to administer the P4.1 B supplemental funds for scholarships and grants for deserving students this year.
“When the Supreme Court issued its decision on the former Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) last November 2013, the function of implementing government programs and projects for which funds have been duly allocated and approved by the Legislature were specifically assigned to agencies of the Executive Department, among them CHED.”
The controversial P4.1 B supplemental funds were given to CHED for its “Tulong Dunong” grants-in-aid program under the Special Provision No. 3 of the General Appropriations Act (GAA).
Contrary to the persistent claims of Tinio that CHED has connived with Administration officials on the use of PDAF funds, Licuanan insisted that the legislated fund does not qualify as congressional pork barrel.
In compliance with the SC ruling on PDAF and the 2014 GAA provisions, CHED issued Guidelines for the use of these funds while adhering with its mandate “to ensure that education shall be accessible to all” and “to develop criteria for allocating additional resources such as research and program development grants, scholarships and other similar programs” as stipulated in RA 7722.
Though lawmakers were allowed to recommend their beneficiaries to CHED, Licuanan has stressed that existing beneficiaries will continue to receive assistance provided they meet the requirements specified in the Guidelines.
Licuanan also clarified issues on the supposed meeting initiated by the CHED in the House of Representatives as asserted by Tinio. She said that CHED officials were summoned to a hearing on August 4 through a Notice issued by the Oversight Committee of the Committee on Appropriations on July 30 as part of its function to ensure that the Student Financial Assistance Program has been properly implemented with the supplemental funds.
Professor Leonor Magtolis Briones lectures on the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) to the MSU-IIT and the general community on Friday, November 15, 2013 at the CEd Amphitheater.
The lecture is organized by the Office of Publication & Information, the OVCRE-Center for Governance Studies, the Department of History and the Department of Political Science of the College of Arts & Social Sciences (CASS) in cooperation with the Office of the Chancellor and the Office of Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.
Briones has lately been in demand as a speaker throughout the country especially on the raging issues on the PDAF.
Briones is the Lead Convenor of Social Watch Philippines, an active member of the global network of Social Watch in the Global Call to Action against Poverty.
The Social Watch Philippines is at the forefront of the Millennium Development Goals Campaign in the country. Along with this, Briones is sought as speaker on current issues such as the Special Purpose Funds, Unprogramed Funds and Off Budget Funds.
At present, Briones is Professor Emeritus of the UP National College of Public Administration and Governance, Chair of the People’s Public Finance Institute and Chair of the Silliman University Board of Trustees.
She received her Bachelor in Business Administration, major in Accounting Magna Cum Laude from Silliman University; a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of the Philippines Diliman; a Post Graduate Diploma in Development Administration with Distinction major in Public Enterprises from Leeds University in England, UK; and, a Certificate in Policy for Public Enterprise from Harvard Institute for International Development, Harvard University, Massachusetts, USA.
Briones is former President of Freedom from Debt Coalition. She was formerly Secretary to the Commission on Audit, Vice President for Finance and Administration of the University of the Philippines, and Treasurer of the Philippines in concurrent capacity as Presidential Adviser for Social Development.
Registration fee for the one-day lectures is P30.00 only.
Please call the OVCRE-CLGS (Hazel) or the OPI (Cherly), tel. 2232343 or 09177576585 for reservations since priority is given to CASS students and representatives of Local Government Units (LGUs). – Christine Godinez Ortega, OC-OPI
Professor Leonor M. Briones (photo from inquirer.net)