CHED Chairman Patricia Licuanan has allegedly stated that if the Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte should ever become President of the Philippines, she would resign despite her yet unfinished term of office. Whether this resolve was because of the President Elect’s earthy, unmediated and irreverent style, or because of his dogged commitment to rid government of corruption, is beyond me. Now that Mr. Duterte is the presumptive President, an additional warrant for Dr. Licuanan’s resignation may be the recently completed COA report for 2014.
The COA report is rather disturbing. I present only information from its Executive Summary.
For the year’s budget, CHED received a total allocation of PHP 9,839,716,000. Its total obligations incurred were PHP 5,667,232,000. Its unobligated balance was PHP 4,172,484,000. This means that in this year, CHED had unused resources of more than 4.17 billion pesos. This was a humongous resource it did not use for the promotion of higher education in the Philippines. It is evidence of the reprehensible inefficiency of CHED in this year.
In the “Summary of Significant Audit Observations and Recommendations,” there are startling revelations.
There are “internal control weaknesses” in the administration of the CHED’s Student Funding Assistance Program (STUFAP). These affect the allocation of beneficiary slots, and the processing of claims and their release. Findings: (a) Allotments of PHP 1.23 billion are unutilised. These delay the availment by students of the program in the CHED regional offices (CHEDROs). (b) The total slot allocation of 391,817 students is beyond the absorptive capacity of the CHEDROs to which they were downloaded. (c) For 703 grantees, there are excess, double or multiple payments of benefits totaling PHP 3,441,500. This reeks not only of inefficiency but of fraud. (d) The payment of benefits through cash advances by the cashier and other officials had a total unliquidated year-end balance of PHP 108,001,505 in CHEDROs I, V, and VI. Here there is no assurance that the grantees received their educational assistance.
There is a Study Now Pay Later Program (SNPLP) in CHED. Of the loans-receivable balance of PHP 352,1671,035 under this program, PHP 197,701,073 is due and demandable from the student borrowers of nine CHEDROs. Of this amount, only PHP 7,302, 904 (3.69%) were collected in 2014. Why only this small amount? CHED has weak loan repayment mechanisms in place; the interest of 6% per annum tax was not imposed; records of both the Accounting and Scholarship Sections were inadequate.
Concerning “PHP 4.063 billion DAP Funds received from DPWH, DSWD and PIDS in CYs 2011 and 2012, the amount of PHP 3.895 billion were transferred to 110 SUCs and PHP 4.994 million allotted as administrative costs, with unremitted balance of PHP 159.025 million to Source Agencies (SAs) as of December 31, 2014. Of the total funds transferred to SUCs, the amount of PHP 3.131 billion remained unliquidated for more than a year due to the CHED’s inadequate monitoring mechanisms and enforcement of the liquidation/refund thereof from the recipient SUCs, contrary to COA Circular No. 94-013, CMO No. 9, series of 2012 and the Supreme Court Decision promulgated on July 1, 2014 and modified on February 3, 2015.” If CHED receives such huge amounts of the people’s money, why should it not have the monitoring mechanisms to care for the people’s money?
Concerning the Philippine California Advanced Research Institutes (PCARI), the COA states: “Of the 25 research proposals and a project for the expansion of a shared Genome Laboratory endorsed by CHED to the DOST and DOH for joint evaluation and approval totaling PHP 2.846 billion under the PCARI project, only eight projects worth 9890 million were approved by DOST, registering a 32 percent project approval rate, and merely a 41 percent budget and 0.28 percent fund utilisation rate during the year resulting in the lapsing of the NCAs [national cash allocation] of the project funds on the 1st and 2nd quarter of the year totaling PHP 1.769 billion and reversion of the 14.82 million allotment. The dismal CHED performance in this project calls into question the huge funds allocated it and largely unused. The higher education community would have been better served if research opportunities could have been shared with other than the few participating HEIs in this project.
Further in this context: “Budget Allocations for the two of the eight submitted RFAs [requests for applications] entered into by CHED with the collaborating and lead Universities under the PCARI Project amounting only to PHP 86,137,315.20 with a discrepancy of PHP 182,064,943. to cover the first year of the budget requirement of PHP 268 million; while comparison of the DOST/DOH’s total approved amount of PHP 833,544,114 for the eight projects vis-à-vis the total initial budget of PHP 833, 544,114.07, showed a decrease of PHP 9,032,099.93, notwithstanding the increase in the price of equipment, increase in the salary level of the researchers/investigators and foreign exchange rate of the US dollar to Peso, due to the delayed project implementation for two years. Said RFAs were not certified as to availability of funds by the agency Chief Accountant contrary to Section 30, General Provision of RA No. 10633 and Sections 85, 86, and 87 of PD No. 1445.
Concerning CHED’s Information Technology: “…the funds transferred to the Procurement Service (PS)-DBM for Information Technology (IT) and laboratory equipment totaling PHP 501.9 million remained undelivered for more than a year in CHED-Central Office, while funds transferred to the participating HEIs for scholarships, grants-in-aid and other projects totaling PHP 109,930,037.50 in CHEDROS-II and XII remained outstanding for more than one year, contrary to COA Circular 94-013 dated December 31, 1994. (Paragraphs 141-147)”
Concerning loans receivable, COA states: “Out of the Loans Receivable account balance of PHP 352,161,035.89, the amount of 46,557,726.96 is unreliable due to: a) inadequacy of records/SLs [subsidiary ledgers] in two CHEDROs totaling PHP 31,079,657.33; b) variance between the SL and the General Ledger (GL) of PHP 252,899.63 in CHEDRO-II; c) understatement of PHP 934,750. due to error in recording in two CHEDROs; and d) dormant accounts of PHP 14,289,420 in CHEDRO XI, which eventually affects the fair presentation of the said account in the F/S [Financial Statement].
Daan na Matuwid? The People gave their verdict on this last May 9..