SONA FACT CHECK: DAP-funded TESDA program questioned
MANILA, Philippines – In the last State of the Nation Address (SONA) of President Benigno Aquino III, he defended the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), pointing out that it helped the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) by funding the agency's Training for Work Scholarship Program (TWSP).
"The Disbursement Acceleration Program contributed P1.6 billion to TESDA’s Training for Work Scholarship Program. This amount enabled the graduation of 223,615 beneficiaries. 66% of these – or, 146,731 graduates – now have jobs. As for the remaining 34%, TESDA is helping them find employment," Aquino said.
The P1.6 billion-fund from DAP was given to TESDA in two batches: P1.1 billion in 2011, and P500 million in 2012.
However, the 2012 audit report of the Commission on Audit (COA) showed that these amounts were not fully utilized by the agency, casting doubt on Aquino's figures.
COA said that out of the P1.1 billion funds from DAP obtained by TESDA in 2011 for TWSP, only 92.47% was utilized.
|BUDGET CY 2011||UTILIZATION||UNUTILIZED|
|DAP||Regular Budget||Total||DAP||Regular Budget||Total||DAP||Regular Budget||Total|
|P1.1 billion||P700 million||P1.8 billion||P1 billion||P674 million||P1.7 billion||P82 million||P26 million||P109 million|
COA listed down the items under the unused allotment:
|Unreleased NCA by the DBM||P48,227,550.00||P16,410,500.00||P 64,638,050.00|
|Graduates not assessed||526,700.00||1,261,700.00||1,788,400.00|
|Unutilized Scholarship Vouchers||25,199,300.00||2,979,400.00||28,178,700.00|
|Unused Funds by the Regions||4,189,907.32||1,121,000.00||5,310,907.32|
|Less: unaccounted adjustment of the revised Qualification Maps||1,012,746.96|
|Net Unutilized allotment||P109,382,957.78|
"Among the guidelines in the implementation of the TWSP is the payment of training fees which stated that only for those who finished the training course or have graduated shall be paid. Thus, drop-outs amounting to P5,918,000.00 formed part of the unutilized amount, funds allotted for it, could have accommodated more trainees if this was reported earlier by the training schools," COA said in its report.
This unutilized amount, COA added, "deprived other qualified TWSP scholars to enroll in various training courses thus, defeating the primary objective of the program to reduce poverty and provide job opportunities from industry enterprises and other partners that have specific requirements for skilled workers."
Along with this table, COA also presented details of accomplishment as compared to what had been approved:
|Target in CY 2011||Accomplishment||Unutilized slots|
|Training Slots||No. of Trainees to be Assessed||No. of Graduates/ Trainees||Graduates Assessed||Training Slots||Graduates not Assessed|
Based on this data, a total of 8,446 TWSP graduates were not assessed. "Likewise, failure to conduct the assessment needed deprived trainees of employment opportunity, both local and abroad," COA said in the report.
COA also mentioned that there are "ghost scholars," based on the following observations:
- In Quezon City and CAMANAVA, some trainees availed of multiple training courses, which were held simultaneously or conducted on dates which overlapped, which puts doubt on the reliability of the scholars’ attendance.
- In the Muntinlupa-Parañaque-Las Piñas district, some scholars confirmed that they had never attended the subject training course, one is identified as minor and uneligible for training, and one actually resides in Palawan.
- When COA tried to contact some scholars, some of them could not be reached via the contact numbers they provided.
In a statement released by the agency, TESDA Secretary Joel Villanueva explained that the unutilized DAP fund reverted to the National Treasury. "Among the reasons for the failure to use the fund was the delay in the processes of some private sector partners, the dropout rate, and the inability to fully implement scholarship programs in some areas because of calamities," he said.
As for the ghost scholars, Villanueva said these scholars are either abroad or had changed contact numbers. "We made this clear to COA and it accepted our explanation," he said.
TWSP was launched as early as 2006 by former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to provide Filipinos with more training and make them more employable and better able to rise above poverty.
Following the SC decision that deemed unconstitutional certain executive actions under the DAP, Aquino said TWSP is among the programs that will be affected by the High Court's decision. (READ: Aquino fears economic ‘paralysis’ over DAP ruling) – Rappler.com