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Scholarship challenge

/ 07:14 AM April 07, 2013

I think Cebu City Councilor Bebot Abellanosa shouldn’t  ignore the complaint of conflict of interest that lawyer  Totol Batuhan  filed against  him with the Office of the President, Ombudsman and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

The cases filed by Batuhan, his rival for the  congressional south district seat,  are based on the scholarship program of Cebu City  where  Abellanosa,  owner of Asian College of Technology, is a member of City Hall’s  scholarship committee.

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The city government accredited ACT among the schools for its  scholarship program which provides tuition subsidy of P10,000 per semester per student.

Abellanosa insists he didn’t  participate in deciding about the scholarships awarded to his school. Batuhan pointed out that the law is very clear  about direct or indirect  involvement in conflict of interest.

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The mere fact that Abellanosa is a member of the city’s scholarship committee and signed the scholarship agreement with the city as  chairman of ACT  shows the existence of a conflict of interest.

Recently ACT was unable to have its  accreditation renewed by the committe, which means that Cebu City  would no longer foot the bill for new scholars who enroll in ACT even as students currently on  scholarship in higher years  will continue to enjoy the privilege.

I learned from Batuhan that  once a student enrolls in ACT and fails to continue with his schooling for whatever reason, the student  can no longer seek tuition reimbursement from the school.

This is different from the practice in the University of San Carlos (USC) where a  student who withdraws before the midterm examination can claim  reimbursement of fees paid for the semester.

Cebu City Rep. Tommy Osmeña and Bebot Abellanosa accused the administration of Mayor Mike Rama of harassment over the non-accreditation of ACT. But  long before this,  I already  heard  the complaints   against ACT leveled by some teachers  mainly that their schools which are also beneficiaries of the scholarship program  only had a few city government scholars compared to enrolees of ACT which got  more than half of the total scholars in the city scholarship program.

It’s about  time Abellanosa answers the complaint of conflict of interest. I think the BO-PK leadership should be able to determine what is right in the  Abellanosa case.

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On  April 10, 19 and 25, the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. with several private sector partners, including Cebu Daily News, is holding  a Mega Cebu Candidates’ Fora.

The series will present candidates for  governor, vice governor, and mayors of the 6 towns and 7 cities  of Metro Cebu at the Cebu Cultural Center of  the UP Cebu campus in Gorordo Avenue.

The first round at 8 a.m. of  April 10 will focus on candidates for mayor and congressman in Cebu’s 1st district –  cities of Talisay, Carcar and Naga, and towns of Minglanilla and San Fernando. CDN columnist Malou Guanzon Apalisok is the moderator.

On  April 19, Friday   morning, is the turn of  candidates of the 5th district with yours truly as moderator.  That covers Danao City, Compostela and Liloan.

In the afternoon, Apalisok is moderator of candidates of the 6th district – Mandaue City, and Consolacion and Cordova towns –   and the lone district of Lapu-Lapu.

April  25, Thursday morning is the session for Cebu City  mayor, vice mayor and  congressional bets  to be moderated  by Apalisok.

In the afternoon the provincial  candidates for governor and vice governor will have their turn

The forum is an opportunity for candidates to lay down their vision of growth for Cebu and platform of government. It’s an  important exercise that will be covered by the print and broadcast media, including social media.

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TAGS: Cebu, Politics, scholarship
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