The Technical Education Skills and Development Authority (Tesda) vowed to release a detailed report “as soon as possible” on its handling of the P160 million spending on National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF – ELCAC)-related projects flagged by the Commission on Audit (COA).
Tesda director general, Secretary Isidro Lapeña, said that as soon as he was informed about the report from COA, he immediately directed the offices concerned to collate all the documents pertaining to the report “to properly respond to the matter.”
“As far as I know, out of the total P160,083,401.61, the amount of P147,383,401.61 were releases to the Regional Offices (RO). These funds were sourced out from the Tesda Centrally Managed Funds, specifically from Tesda scholarship funds as reflected in Tesda’s budget FY 2020 General Appropriations Act,” Lapeña said.
On the other hand, Lapeña cited that the amount of P12.7 million balance from the P160 million were taken from the P45.9 million budget for the implementation of Executive Order 70 allocated by Department of Budget Management (DBM), which are intended for the operating expenses for 17 regions.
The allocation in question, he noted, were spent for various scholarship and livelihood programs for the beneficiaries such as: members of the communist terrorist groups who decided to return to the government’s fold, residents of various geographically isolated and disadvantaged communities, including indigenous peoples in far-flung areas of the country.
“This fund in question was used in order for them to live a normal life again,” he said.
The P6 million fund augmentation for RO 12, Lapeña added, is part of the P12.7 million budget allocation to some regions.
The said amount, per COA report, pertains to the budget allocation and not “were used” as stated in a news report.
For the information of the public, Tesda chairs the Poverty Reduction, Livelihood, and Employment Cluster (PRLEC) as well as the Regional Task Force – ELCAC-12. That is the reason why Tesda is actively involved in the various programs of the NTF-ELCAC, Lapeña said.
“We also have existing protocols to ensure proper and lawful disbursement of funds and has submitted all the documents to COA to support our disbursements,” the Tesda chief added.
“Nevertheless, we are currently coordinating with COA in order to resolve this issue,” he assured.