Senate finance panel terminates TESDA budget presentation

Published October 18, 2021, 5:54 PM

by Manila Bulletin

The Senate Committee on Finance Sub-Committee J, chaired by Sen. Joel Villanueva, approved the proposed 2022 budget of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) but asked for clarity on issues raised by the panel on Monday, Oct. 18.

The committee members approved the P14.5-billion budget of TESDA despite the government agency’s fund transfer issues and failure to disburse on time.

Sen. Franklin Drilon, in his interpellation, questioned TESDA’s ‘wrong budget usage’ citing questionable fund transfers and low budget and disbursement utilization rate.

Drilon said that the transfer of funds from the central office to the regional offices is not a utilization or spending of its allocation.

He also noted during the hearing the fund transfer made to the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) amounting to P74.4 million.

Villanueva mentioned the Commission of Audit (COA) report flagging TESDA’s fund transfer to NTF-ELCAC..

TESDA Secretary Isidro Lapeña, however, denied that there was any fund transfer to NTF-ELCAC, saying the said allocation was given to the regional offices of the agency which was used for its training assistance to far-flung areas.

The committee also asked TESDA to give a report on their fund allocation aside from requesting COA to provide a report on the agency’s fund transfers.

TESDA was created through Republic Act No. 7796 or the “Technical Education and Skills Development Act of 1994”, which was signed into law by President Fidel Ramos on August 25, 1994. The law aims to encourage the full participation of and mobilize the industry, labor, local government units and technical-vocational institutions in the skills development of the country’s human resources. (Melvin Sarangay)