Only 781 scholars of Lim administration qualify
1,245 “SCHOLARS” PURGED
FINALLY on March 6, the Dagupan City government distributed scholarship funds to 781 of the original 2,300 scholars of the past city administration at P20,500 per scholar to cover their tuition fees and allowances for one semester in a big event that again crowded CSI Stadia spearheaded by Mayor Belen Fernandez.
To accommodate the number of qualified scholars accompanied by his or her respective parents or guardians, the city treasurer’s office had to designate 10 paying stations.
In a press conference at the site, Mayor Fernandez explained that 1,245 of listed scholars were purged from the roster after they were found to be “flying” ( non-resident scholars), “ghost” (non-existent scholars), “dummy” (unqualified scholars) and those who failed in their studies.
There were 374 others who were removed from the 1,055 names that were submitted to the City Accounting Office (CAO) for payout for failing to comply with the minimum requirements set by City Ordinance No. 2010-2020 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations: 1) The grantee must submit a certificate of residency and indigency duly signed by their barangay captains; 2) Has a weighted average in all subjects of 80 percent; 3) No failing grade in all subjects; 4) Enrolled in 18 units per semester, and 5) The grades of the scholars must be duly certified by the dean or registrar of the school where they were enrolled.
Fernandez clarified that the 274 scholars that were removed per the assessment of City Accountant Rosario Catugas can still be included in the payout in the next few days provided that the deficiencies are not about failing grades.
She rejected the call of the majority in the Sanggunian to release the remaining balance of P55 million of last administration’s P112 scholarship funds as early as September last year because she already suspected the list was padded with unqualified scholars since the past scholarship committee headed by Lenny de Venecia did not leave any data, i.e., addresses, cellphone numbers, schools, etc., except the payroll of scholars.
“Believe me, the schools where some of the scholars were enrolled did not even know that they had as their students scholars of the Dagupan City government,” Fernandez said.
Meanwhile, the mayor said the payout for the 2,500 new scholars of her administration hinges on the passage and approval of the 2023 annual budget of Dagupan that allocates P200 million, P100 million more than the budget for scholarship set by the past Lim administration.
Based on the Audit Observation Memorandum of City Auditor Michael Basa, the scholars who received their full benefits but failed in their studies and did not meet the residency requirement, must return the amount of financial assistance given to them.
Asked by THE PUNCH why the scholars had to be accompanied by their parents or guardians in receiving their cash grants, Mayor Fernandez said they were asked to sign an undertaking vowing to follow all the rules and regulations as specified in the ordinance. (Leonardo Micua)
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