CHED denies misuse of development funds
The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) on Wednesday refuted allegations of misuse of public funds, particularly the Higher Education Development Fund (HEDF), according to a report by Philippine News Agency.
In a statement, CHED chairperson Prospero de Vera III assured the lawful utilization of HEDF.
"Accusing CHED of misusing public funds is a very serious allegation. We reiterate that HEDF funds are used consistent with the CHED law and Tourism Act, and grants to HEIs (higher education institutions) have been provided since the past administrations," he said.
De Vera made the statement following concerns raised by Northern Samar 1st District Representative Paul Daza in a hearing of the House Committee on Higher and Technical Education.
Daza noted that a fund balance of PHP10 billion in 2021 could have been used by CHED to subsidize beneficiaries from the Department of Social Welfare and Development for Tertiary Education Subsidy (TES).
"The Higher Education Development Fund (HEDF) was put in the CHED Charter (Republic Act 7722) to fund projects to 'strengthen higher education.' It is not a scholarship fund. I do not know where the idea of a PHP10-billion scholarship fund came from," de Vera said.
"The Tourism Act of 2009 (RA 9593) states that the use of travel tax contributions (the biggest bulk of the HEDF fund) 'should prioritize tourism-related projects and courses.' This law also requires the Department of Tourism (DOT) and CHED to collaborate in the regulation and development of undergraduate and graduate degrees in tourism," he added.
De Vera said pursuant to these laws, the commission has been securing allocations for tourism-related program grants, as well as the provision of support to priority programs through equipment and facilities to meet quality assurance standards.
Besides these priority projects, the HEDF is also being used to cover other programs not covered by the approved national budget.
"HEDF funds have also been used to implement laws passed by Congress that are not funded in the National Expenditure Program (NEP) or General Appropriations Act (GAA) (K-12 graduate scholarship/research, transnational education, Philippine Qualifications Framework, LUDIP law, equipment for medical schools). Once included in the NEP/GAA, then the HEDF funding stops," de Vera said.
De Vera, meanwhile, said the commission is willing to cooperate with Congress to identify priority programs.
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