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    Posted June 10, 2014 by

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    Funds for Philippine schools pocketed?

    PHILIPPINE Senator Aquilino Pimentel III on Tuesday sought an inquiry on the "non-release of funds" earmarked for the reconstruction of state universities and colleges (SUCs) that were damaged last year by typhoon “Yolanda” and earlier calamities.
    Pimentel has filed a resolution directing the Senate committees on education, arts and culture and on finance to conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, on why no funds for reconstruction have been released.
    The government has allotted supplemental funding of P14.6 billion in 2013 and Rehabilitation Fund of P20 billion in 2014 to "help distraught communities and institutions, among them SUCs," in the rehabilitation and reconstruction effort, the resolution said.
    A total of 36 SUCs in eight regions, including the University of the Philippines in Tacloban City and in Palo, Leyte, have been affected, said Pimentel.
    Pimentel said most of the damaged SUCs in regions 6, 7 and 8 opened classes last January without undertaking the needed repairs of their structures to the detriment of the safety, health, and proper learning conditions of their students, faculty and staff.
    The senator deplored the response of the concerned agencies, which he described as "too slow."
    He said appropriate legislative measures may be undertaken to "facilitate the release of the needed funds for the rehabilitation and reconstruction works" to normalize the operations of the SUCs.
    The affected SUCs submitted damage estimates as required by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) in November last year. The idea was to get assistance "immediately given to them to normalize their operations and allow students to continue their studies," said Pimentel.
    It has been six months since the CHED submitted the list to the Department of Public Works and Highways, but no funds have been released for this purpose, Pimentel said.
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