Majority remains uncommitted to fund scholarship program

By November 13, 2022Inside News


THE second hearing on the proposed supplemental budget and the proposed Supplemental Annual Investment Plan held Tuesday afternoon ended without a consensus reached by members of the majority on what action should be taken on the two measures proposed by the office of the City Mayor.

The hearing presided by Councilor Redford Erfe-Mejia was attended by Dr. Aurora Samson Reyna, president of the Association of Private Schools and Universities in Dagupan and Dr. Danilo Bose, regional director of the Commission on Higher Education, both members of the Dagupan City scholarship committee formed by Mayor Fernandez.

The discussion that centered on the scholarship program of the Fernandez administration saw Erfe-Mejia directing the OIC city treasurer, budget officer and accountant to release the  money due the scholars citing the P55 million available for scholarship fund for this year.

But the three city officials said only Mayor Fernandez, chairman of the new scholarship committee, can make that decision.

During the public hearing open to the public via Zoom, Councilor Jeslito Seen, a member of the minority, brough out a copy of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) on City Ordinance No. 2256-2022 that adopted the revised Comprehensive Dagupan City Government  Scholarship and Educational Assistance Program and Providing Funds Thereof” to rebut Erfe-Mejia’s claim that there is no IRR for the present scholarship program.

Meanwhile, Dr. Reyna told the committee that the work of the present scholarship committee would have been faster if only the past scholarship committee turned over complete records of the current scholars, not only list of names.

She said there were no information listing addresses, cellphone numbers, schools where and what course the scholars were enrolled in and their grades during the past semester or year turned over by the past committee.

To the astonishment of Reyna and Bose, Councilor Celia Lim quickly rebutted and she referred them to the website of the past Public Information Office where she said the information they required can be found because they knew it wasn’t true.

Dr. Reyna confirmed the previous statement of Mayor Fernandez that there were ghost scholars because they could not be located in Dagupan despite the search undertaken by staff of the mayor’s office.

Councilor Alfie Fernandez argued it’s possible that scholars who cannot be found have already graduated from their courses, a situation that could not be taken as fact because it takes four years to graduate in a collegiate course.

Fernandez also proposed that the proposed supplemental budget be reduced because the P100 million allotted scholarship is too much but Seen warned that City Ordnance 2256-2022 set P200 million the annual budget for the scholarship program.

The third hearing on the two proposed ordinances was set on Nov. 15 with OIC City Engineer among the invited resource speakers. (Leonardo Micua)

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