• CHED defends P4.28-B ‘pork barrel’


    COMMISSION on Higher Education  (CHEd) Chairman Patricia Licuanan on Tuesday admitted that they received  a P4.28 billion funding from the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) but clarified that the money was used  to enhance the capacity of state universities  and colleges (SUCS).

    Licuanan said the P4.28 billion DAP funding was allocated to enhance the capacity of SUCs to modernize and upgrade infrastructure and facilities, fund research, development and extension (RDE) activities to benefit their communities, strengthen the capability of SUC executives, and provide access for poor students.

    “As of September 2013, P3.96 billion out of the P4.03 billion or 98.26 percent has been released to the University of the Philippines (UP) and Mindanao State University (MSU) Systems receiving more than half of the investment at P1.383 and P1.039 billion, respectively,” she said.

    Licuanan said the fund, which was released to the Commission in 2011, was also used to upgrade infrastructure and facilities, including five projects for UP-Baguio.

    DAP-funded projects, she added, include 14 high-impact infrastructure projects and equipment upgrades in the pipeline at the MSU-Marawi City main campus consisting of the soon to be erected three-storey Science and Technology building and state-of-the-art Computer Center.

    CHEd has also set aside a P560 million budget to finance 128 projects of 22 state colleges and universities through the help of the Philippine Institute for Development Studies.

    “The approved RDE projects focus on priority themes such as climate change impacts and mitigation, disaster science, biodiversity, agriculture and food security, health, alternative sources of energy, education, and other societal concerns at the regional and national levels. These projects are expected to produce at least 20 research and development technologies to be disseminated in 500 barangays [villages]and to benefit more than 100,000 households in the next three years,” Licuanan explained.

    The CHEd chair also noted that at least 800 school officials have benefited from the executive development program through the DAP funding.

    “These courses have been designed to enhance their competencies in strategic planning, quality assurance and improvement, develop world class universities, research and development management, extension management, performance-based budgeting, asset development for resource generation and management, among others. To date, 60 percent of the P165 million allotment has been used already,” Licuanan said.

    The CHEd, she added, has also set aside P500 million to finance the education of more than 4,000 students enrolled in 35 selected state universities and colleges under the “Students Grants-in-Aid Program for Poverty Alleviation (SGP-PA).

    Student-beneficiaries are selected by the Department of Social Welfare and Development under its Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino program.

    “This is a testament to the government’s commitment to steadily increase investment in education from 2.9 percent of Gross Domestic Product in 2010 all the way to 4.9 percent in 2016, thereby reaching the international benchmark spending for education in developing countries,” Licuanan said.


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