TECHNICAL Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) Director General Joel Villanueva on Wednesday denied using some of the P1.1 billion Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) funds to finance “ghost trainees” in 2011.
The Commission on Audit (COA) has found irregularities in the agency’s use of the DAP money, which it claimed had been used to finance “ghost scholars.”
Villanueva clarified that the P1.1 billion DAP money had been used to finance various skills training programs of the agency.
He said the DAP-funded training programs which give priority to poor youth, yielded high employment rate, putting to work more than 90,000 graduates of various technical vocational (tech-voc) courses.
He added that the fund, which was released to the agency in October 2011, was backed by records and an authentic list of beneficiaries to prove that this was used properly.
The Tesda chief explained that the funds were used to supplement the Training for Work Scholarship Program (TWSP), in which P500 million went to the IT-BPO [Information Technology-Business Process Outsourcing] sector, and P600 million to support the skills requirement in four priority sectors—agriculture/agri-business; tourism, retirement, health and wellness; general infrastructure; and electronics/semi-conductor.
“This was allocated as scholarships to the BPO-IT sector, coursed through the Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP), which received P500 million; and to other sectors like construction, tourism, semi-conductor and electronics, which was budgeted with P600 million,” Villanueva said.
In the IT-BPO sector, 75,479 completed the training from the 75,682 individuals who enrolled. This resulted in a 70.9 percent employment rate for those programs implemented in partnership with the BPAP, which provided Tesda the list of the names, addresses and contact numbers of the employed graduates for this sector.
“The scholarship projects implemented with the BPAP had a 70.9 percent employment rate, while those with other sectors yielded an employment rate of 60 percent,” the Tesda chief noted.
Villanueva added that only P38 million from the DAP funds, not P109 million as earlier reported, was unused and this was turned over to the National Treasury.
“It’s not P109 million and not all coming from DAP funds. Of the P1.1 billion, around P38 million or three percent were unutilized and went 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 and the inability to fully implement scholarship programs in some areas because of calamities,” the Tesda chief explained.
“As to reports about the 61 alleged ghost scholars out of the 210, 000 Tesda scholars, we found out that some are already working abroad, while others could not be traced because they have changed contact numbers,” he said.
“We made this clear to COA and it accepted our explanation. The auditing agency did not issue any notice of disallowance for this spending.”