The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) maintained that there were “no questionable releases” under its scholarship program.
CHED Chairman J. Prospero De Vera III, in a statement issued Aug. 11, said that the Commission has “always been fully transparent and accountable” in its implementation of the Republic Act (RA) 10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act (UAQTE).
The UAQTE institutionalized free tuition and exemption from other fees in state universities and colleges and local universities and colleges in the country.
CHED issued this statement after Senator Risa Hontiveros urged the Senate to investigate the alleged “anomalous release of funds” to a scholarship body under the CHEd.
De Vera said that the Commission takes “seriously the allegations” raised that the Unified Student Financial Assistance System for Tertiary Education (UniFAST), which is an attached agency of CHED, has nearly P7-Billion "questionable releases" for the implementation of its programs.
The alleged “questionable releases,” De Vera stressed, have “been answered squarely” by CHED-UNIFAST in its reply to the Commission on Audit (COA).
De Vera added that the observations such as inefficient billing requiring action from CHED-UniFAST “have been corrected” as these allegations stem from COA observations three to four years ago or in Academic Year (AY) 2018-2019 and AY 2019-2020.
“The beneficiaries of UAQTE are the beneficiaries mandated by the law,” De Vera said.
“No UAQTE funds have been released to students who are not beneficiaries under the law,” he added.
Meanwhile, De Vera said that CHED is “ready to meet” with Hontiveros to clarify her concerns.
De Vera said that he will hold a press conference next week to “explain the side” of CHED and UniFAST.