CHEd pledges to pay colleges, universities with PDAF scholars
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Higher Education (CHEd) has assured state universities and colleges it would cover the tuition of tens of thousands of students who were deprived of congressional “pork barrel” scholarships in the second half of the current school year.
The CHEd “is finalizing its audit as to exactly how many and how much it owes the state universities and colleges for accepting the PDAF grantees (for the second semester),” the commission said in a statement.
Patricia Licuanan, chairperson of the five-member commission, the overseer of the country’s 1,800 universities and colleges, has “ensure(d) that the agency will find the funds for them,” it added.
While the second semester is already underway, the CHEd has yet to spell out how it would make up for the financial assistance previously doled out by legislators to college students.
In a unanimous vote on Nov. 19, the Supreme Court declared as unconstitutional the congressional pork barrel, officially called the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), sealing its earlier order in September, which barred the release of the pork barrel for the rest of the year.
The CHEd Office of Student Services has since been checking the records of its regional offices and the schools themselves since there is no single database on all the students currently supported through the PDAF.
It estimated that the pork barrel scholars numbered in the tens of thousands.
A check with the CHEd also showed that the amount of PDAF and the master list of scholars submitted by a legislator’s office to the CHEd regional office concerned varied every semester.
It was further learned that pork barrel college scholars did not necessarily receive a full tuition subsidy from their representatives, but only some form of financial assistance.