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By JOHN CARLO M. CAHINHINAN

A congressional inquiry has been recently sought by Party-list Cong. Lito Atienza (Buhay) over the procurement of some P800-million worth of starter toolkits of vocational graduates under Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

Atienza stressed that there is an “urgent need” to look into the purchase of the said toolkits since is hasn’t distributed yet to those who graduated under the TESDA’s Special Training for Employment Program (STEP) in 2018.

The tools supposedly will serve starter packs of STEP graduates to set up their own business after finishing the said program.

According to Atienza, Congess should use its oversight functions on whether or not the multi-million allocations was did used by the agency in procuring the said items.

The P800-million fund came from congressional allocation under the 2019 national budget supposedly for less fortunate constituents who availed the STEP program.

Atienza explained that the anomalous TESDA procurement has started when Director General Isidro Lapeña set aside the recommendation of the agency’s oversight panel over the winning bidder and instead ordered the rebidding of the P1.4-billion for the purchase of training kits last year.

Lapeña and other high-ranking officials of TESDA were charged before the Paranaque Regional Trial Court (RTC) possible violation of the Procurement Code.

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