Iloilo court allows gov’t scholars to enroll despite delayed tuition
ILOILO CITY — An Iloilo court has barred a state college from withholding school records of government scholars who graduated but whose tuition have allegedly not been fully paid for by the government.
In two separate 20-day temporary restraining orders issued on April 8 and released on Monday, Judge Rogelio Amador of the Barotac Viejo, Iloilo Regional Trial Court Branch 66 also barred officials of the Northern Iloilo Polytechnic State College (NIPSC) from preventing incoming senior students who were scholars under the “Iskolar sang Quinto (ISQ)” program from enrolling.
The ISQ was a project of former loilo Rep. Niel “Junjun” Tupas Jr.. He initiated the scholarship in 2007 during his first term as representative of Iloilo’s fifth congressional district. His third consecutive and last term ended in 2016.
Under the program, scholars received financial assistance averaging P3,000 per student every semester that subsidized most of their tuition and other fees amounting to a range of P4,000 to P5,000 per semester.
Tupas’ pork barrel allocation under the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) funded the scholarship program.
But the payments stopped after the Supreme Court on Nov. 19, 2013 declared the PDAF as unconstitutional. The ruling also nullified laws that allowed legislators lump-sum allocations to fund their pet projects.
NIPSC officials said they allowed the scholars to enroll and graduate because of the assurance by Tupas that he would seek other sources of funds.
An Audit Observation Memo dated Feb. 23, 2017 issued by the Commission on Audit In Western Visayas showed receivables from the ISQ scholarship reaching P74,739,380, NIPSC president Ma. Theresa Palmares
The school has required the full payment of tuition and school fees before the release of school records of graduates who were under the ISQ and those enrolling in the fourth year.
About 1,000 students in seven campuses of NIPSC have been affected by the requirement.
Tupas has insisted that funds were released for the scholars and have accused school officials of corruption and oppression.
These have been vehemently denied by Palmares.
The Barotac RTC orders stated that the students “should not be made to suffer” the shortcomings in the scholarship program. SFM
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