CHED uses 99% of Bayanihan 2 funds
Posted: 2021-Jul-16 11.05.18 UTC+0800
MANILA — The Commission for Higher Education (CHED) has maintained it has utilized 99 percent of its P3.3 billion worth of funds allocated under the Bayanihan 2 law.
CHED chairman Prospero de Vera made the statement on Wednesday in response to the Commission on Audit (COA) findings that the agency has spent only 40.61 percent of its Bayanihan 2 funds.
De Vera said the COA report regarding CHED's low spending is "inaccurate" and "misleading", since it only covers the period until December 31 last year, when the use of the Bayanihan 2 funds was extended until June 30, 2021.
"It is unfortunate that the COA Report did not clarify that the utilization of the Bayanihan 2 funds have been extended to 30 June 2021 and finds fault in government agencies who are authorized to use the funds for six (6) more months," de Vera said.
De Vera noted that the COA report also failed to mention that the Bayanihan 2 law was enacted only Sept. 11, 2020, stressing that it is "inconceivable" for CHED to approve project proposals, request funds from the Department of Budget and Management, and release the funds to state universities and colleges (SUCs) within three months.
"The actions done by CHED are consistent with the requirements for prudent budget release, prompt budget execution, and strict accountability in the use of public funds," he said.
The Bayanihan 2 contained allocations of P300 million for education subsidy called Bayanihan 2 for Higher Education Tulong Program (B2HELP) to eligible students, and P3 billion for grants to state universities and colleges (SUCs) for their Smart Campus Development projects.
De Vera said CHED requested the Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) and Notice of Cash Allocation (NCA) for the P300 million from the DBM on Nov. 17, 2020.
The B2HELP funds were released on Dec. 1, 2020 and were obligated by Dec. 31, 2020.
As of June 30, 2021, de Vera said the agency disbursed P297,540,319 of the B2HELP funds that benefitted around 60,782 students.
The agency, he noted, had a 99 percent utilization rate for the said allocation.
As for the Smart Campus Development projects, CHED obligated P2,998,844,375 and disbursed P2,958,430,405, resulting in 99 percent utilization rate as of June 30, 2021.
The Smart Campus Development Program provides for the acquisition of laptop computers for distribution to SUC faculty, as well as grants for SUC proposals.
De Vera said P1.04 billion was allocated for the first component and P1.96 billion was allocated for the second component.
The grant offers a maximum of P25 million each to SUCs for their project proposals designed to improve the implementation of flexible learning such as upgrading of internet connectivity, campus area network, learning management system, learner information system, smart classrooms, computer center for students, or multi-media center for faculty.
De Vera said CHED received a total of 238 proposals from 111 SUCs and a thorough vetting process by a panel of experts from December 2020 to June 2021.
Out of the 111 SUCs with project proposals, only 89 were found eligible for funding from the Bayanihan 2 fund. (PNA)