Senator Risa Hontiveros on Wednesday said alleged “ghost scholars” under the Commission on Higher Education’s (CHED) scholarship program is a serious concern that should be investigated.
She said the scholarship program is mandated by the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act or Republic Act 10931.
According to Hontiveros, her office received complaints from almost 400 students who said they have not received their education subsidy. “included here were complaints about ‘ghost scholars’ who got tuition reimbursement from students who had already graduated.
“So kung hindi ang mga bata, sino ang totoong nagka-cash in?” Hontiveros said.
During the Senate budget hearing of CHED, Hontiveros also questioned the agency on its defective Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between UniFAST, and the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) that led to P1 billion in parked funds since 2019 and prevented the implementation of the program.
“You know there’s a problem in the MOA but why did you not immediately send back the P1 billion allocated for this to National Treasury? “ she said
She related that the backlog of CHED in the release of money has a backlog of up to three years.
The senator also brought up screenshots emailed to her office of the official UniFAST NCR and Region 10 Facebook pages whose admin urged students to post #IStandWithCHEDUniFast after the senator called for an investigation of the agency’s P7 billion worth of ‘questionable releases’. Comments underneath the post show more complaints from the students.
She said there is a real climate of fear among students, and “we at the Senate should find out who is instigating it.”