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COA to Pisay: Recover P16M from non-STEM college scholars


by Allan Yves Briones

The Commission on Audit (COA) enjoined the directors of Philippine Science High School System (PSHSS) Western Visayas and Southern Mindanao to collect on P16.12 million from its “scholar-awardees” who did not pursue college degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

“(These) additional funds could have been utilized to finance other priority programs,” the audit report read.

The state auditing agency called on Dr. Shena Faith Ganela of the Western Visayas Campus (WVC) and Delia Legaspino of the Southern Mindanao Campus (SMC) to impose this sanction for the former scholars’ “breach of agrement.”

According to the audit report, WVC is yet to collect on P6.1 million. The rest, P10.02 million, is charged to SMC.

Under the PSHSS Board of Trustees Resolution No. 2012-12-47C, also known as the Pisay “Scholarship Agreement”, the scholar-awardee must undertake an education “that emphasizes on science, mathematics and technology.

This agreement, which takes the form of a contract, holds the scholar and his parents or guardians liable for repaying PSHSS upon any breach – such as the undertaking of a non-STEM college course.

This is enforced greatly under Section 35 of Presidential Decree No. 1445, empowering the state auditing agency to assist PSHSS in collecting on delinquent scholars. Even, if necessary, “referring the case to the Solicitor General” with “full support in the litigation.”

COA urged Ganela and Lagaspino to enforce the collection through persistently sending demand letters to defaulting parents or guardians.

Both campus directors agreed, even to the recommendation to seek “other legal remedies” which may be pursued to recover the scholarship grants.

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