Angara chides Tesda chief Lapeña for not discussing budget cut concerns with him
Senator Sonny Angara on Thursday chided Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda) Secretary Isidro Lapeña for not discussing with him the agency’s concern about the cut in its 2019 budget.
During the deliberations for the Commission on Higher Education’s (Ched) 2019 budget, Senator Panfilo Lacson appealed on behalf of Tesda to reinstate the P4.861 billion slashed from the Tesda’s 2019 budget.
“I have documents to show that napaka-pathetic ng situation ng Tesda. They are able to serve only 2.7 percent aggregate (of their potential clientele) for the past three years because of scarcity of funds,” Lacson said during the budget hearing.
“So they’re appealing to the goodness of your heart, Mr. President, kung pwede ibalik na ‘yung P4.861 billion nila,” he added.
Angara, who was defending the budget of Ched, said that Tesda’s budget was cut because of its low obligation rate and there would be over P5 billion left unspent from Tesda’s 2018 budget.
“Ang nangyari po dyan, the Tesda has an 18 percent obligation rate up to present,” Angara explained.
“The forecast for this is that they would have over P5 billion left unspent from their 2018 budget which is the reason for the net change,” Angara added.
Angara said that he is open to discuss on reinstating the P4.861 billion on Tesda’s budget but he noted that the agency’s chief did not bring to his attention its concerns about the budget.
“We’re open to that (on bringing back the P4.861 billion), your Honor. Ang sa akin lang po, ‘yung bagong hepe ng Tesda, lahat ng senador kinakausap pero yung sponsor niya hindi niya kinakausap,” Angara said.
“And there is a courtesy issue there, Mr. President. I think you would agree with me… As a courtesy, he should have at least told us these concerns, your Honor. Madali naman po tayong kausap,” he added.
Angara later said that he felt “disrespected” that Lapeña did not come to his office to raise his concerns regarding Tesda’s budget as he was the vice chairman who is in charge for sponsoring the agency’s budget.
“Madali lang naman po kami lapitan. Bakit yung ibang mga senador nilapitan niya, bakit yung chairman hindi niya man lang kinausap,” he said in a statement.
He explained that only P1.25 billion or 18 percent of the P6.9 billion allotted for the free college law in technical-vocational institutions were utilized as of November this year, which explained the more than P5 billion that Tesda could still use next year.
He added that the budget was realigned to fund the P2.9 billion promotion of faculty members for state universities and colleges (SUCs), for additional capital outlay for SUCs, and for the P1 billion additional scholarships for students in private colleges and universities, among others.
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