Over 12,000 school have ineligible DepEd voucher grantees

Over 12,000 students are ineligible DepEd voucher grantees — PEAC

By: - Reporter / @zacariansINQ
/ 01:36 PM February 28, 2024

MANILA, Philippines — A total of 12,675 students have been found to be ineligible grantees in the Department of Education’s (DepEd) voucher program as of school year 2022 to 2023, said the Private Education Assistance Committee (PEAC) on Wednesday.

PEAC executive director Rhodora Ferrer bared the data after Senator Raffy Tulfo inquired about “ghost” beneficiaries of the DepEd’s voucher program during a Senate committee on basic education and committee on finance joint hearing.

According to Ferrer, aside from the 12,675 students recorded to have had issues in DepEd’s voucher program from 2021 to 2023, 588 students also had issues in DepEd’s Educational Service Contracting (ESC).


“’Yung mga eskwelahan na may issues from SY 2020-2021 to 2022-2023 so this covers three school years — sa voucher program, 12,675. Sa ESC, 588,” said Ferrer during the hearing.


(The schools facing issues from the school year 2020-2021 to 2022-2023, covering three school years, amount to 12,675 in the voucher program and 588 in the ESC.)

When Tulfo asked for clarification on whether Ferrer was referring to the number of students, Ferrer responded with a yes.

The DepEd’s voucher program or the Senior High School Voucher Program allows the department to shoulder the costs of schooling for senior high students by providing subsidies in the form of vouchers to qualified learners in participating SHS.

DepEd implemented the program in an effort to allow increased access to SHS education, especially for the marginalized.

READ: DepEd opens voucher program for senior high school students

But Ferrer noted that some of these cases are mere “clerical issues,” which result in schools giving back the funding to DepEd due to ineligible beneficiary students.


“‘Yung ibang issues dito clerical, because this is spread over several schools. Merong mga eskwelahan na high performing,” explained Ferrer.

(Some issues here are clerical, as they are spread across multiple schools. Some schools are high-performing.)

Such clerical issues pertain to students being declared voucher recipients even if they did not apply for the grant.

“Isa sa pinakamalaking naging concern natin is ‘yung mga ALS (Alternative Learning System) completers na nagiging voucher recipients, dahil dinedeklara silang voucher-eligible … ngunit hindi sila pumasok sa voucher application which ‘yung tamang guideline,” said Ferrer.

(One of our major concerns is the ALS completers who become voucher recipients because they were declared voucher-eligible but did not participate in the voucher application as per the correct guidelines.)

“In other words, kung ALS completer ka, hindi ka automatically eligible, dapat nag-apply ka. Kaso hindi sila nag-apply,” she added.

(In other words, being an ALS completer doesn’t automatically make you eligible; you must apply. However, they did not apply.)

However, if there were over 10 students with such instances in a specific school, Ferrer explained that it would be deemed intentional and beyond a mere clerical matter.

“Kung mahigit sampu ‘yan per school (if it exceeds ten for each school), we move towards suspension,” said Ferrer.

When asked by Tulfo how much has been refunded so far by the schools to the DepEd due to the said issues, Ferrer responded that P239 million of around P300 million remain unrefunded from SY 2022 to 2023.

On the other hand, 32 voucher-participating schools so far are recommended for termination from the program, with DepEd and PEAC vowing to complete the refunds and investigations before the opening of classes for SY 2024 to 2025.

READ: A puzzler in DepEd’s voucher program

Tulfo then pointed out the sluggish progress in addressing the problem.

“Kung titignan natin ang figure sa P300 million na original amount, at ang collected ay P239, medyo mabagal po ata ang collection?” said Tulfo.

(If we look at the figures, with the original amount at P300 million and the collected amount at P239 million, it seems that the collection process may be somewhat slow.)

“Ang gusto natin dito ay mapabilis po ‘yung pagtapos ng investigation at para [makuha] na ‘yung pera na napunta sa eskwelahan na hindi dapat,” he added.

(We aim to expedite the investigation’s completion and retrieve the funds that shouldn’t have gone to schools, hastening the resolution.)

For her part, Ferrer committed to accelerating the process of collecting the funds.

The official said that to avoid such cases from happening again, PEAC started requiring schools to submit documents accepting their billing request for the program for DepEd to validate the list of students before releasing the program funds.

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