Irregularities in 2019-2021 city scholarship program exposed
GHOST, NON-CITY RESIDENTS AWARDED
SOME students awarded scholarships by past Dagupan City administration could not be located while others were verified to be residents from other towns and cities.
This was revealed by Vice Mayor Bryan Kua in response to the point of inquiry raised by Councilor and Majority Floor Leader Librada Macalanda on the issue raised by Councilor Redford Erfe-Mejia that 26 students were denied residency and indigency clearances by the Salapingao barangay secretary, a requirement to qualify for the city’s scholarship program.
Initially reluctant to respond, Kua said: “Sa pagkakaalam ko, may mga scholars na hindi mahanap, may mga scholars na nahanap pero taga-ibang lugar.”
The vice mayor offered the explanation that the delay in the issuance of clearances could be the result of the scholarship committee’s findings that some past scholars were not bona fide residents of the city.
In support of Kua’s statement, Councilor Marcelino Fernandez, a current member of the scholarship committee affirmed that the lax compliance of the past scholarship committee with the ordinance that requires residency in the city as a primary requirement resulted in admission of non-city residents, and this is being corrected by the present committee.
“That was unfair to the people of Dagupan whose taxes were used to pay for the tuition fees of non-resident scholars,” Fernandez remarked after the session.
He said there were scholars of the past city administration that were verified to be from Alaminos City, Bolinao, Urdaneta City, Binmaley and other towns in violation of the city ordinance.
On the reported refusal of Barangay Salapingao to issue residency and indigency clearances to the 26 students, Fernandez said the barangay must have verified that the students are residents of Salapingao in Binmaley, and not Salapingao in Dagupan.
“On that basis, Salapingao Barangay Kapitan Delfin de Guzman refused to issue them the clearances because their houses are outside the jurisdiction of his barangay,” Fernandez said. “You know a barangay captain is liable and can be sued and dismissed from the service if he issues any clearances to undeserving individuals,” he added.
He said the boundary between Salapingao (Binmaley) and Salapingao (Dagupan) is often overlooked that many from Salapingao in Binmaley managed to register and vote in Dagupan.
On the charge that the refusal to be issued clearances was politically motivated, Fernandez said barangay kapitan of Salapingao who’d be in the best position to respond to it.
When Councilor Macalanda sought the presence of members of the current scholarship committee in the next session of the SP for more clarification, Councilor Michael Fernandez interjected that it should by the concerned barangay officials of Salapingao who should be invited instead. Both groups were invited. (Leonardo Micua)
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