2 youth groups to check Cebu scholarships-A A +A
Monday, September 17, 2012
CEBU CITY -- Two student organizations want to conduct their own inquiry on the participation and involvement of a Cebu City councilor and school owner in the City Government's college scholarship program.
The National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP) and the College Editors' Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) recently wrote Mayor Michael Rama and asked for the release of documents regarding the scholarship program.
Citing ethical issues and possible conflict of interest, the groups questioned the involvement of Councilor Rodrigo Abellanosa and the school he owns, the Asian College of Technology (ACT), in the scholarship program.
"We view with concern this controversy about the scholarship program of the City...This issue has earned our attention and we hope that with your help in the interest of good governance and transparency, we will ascertain the truth and be properly guided in our subsequent actions," the group told Rama.
The alleged conflict of interest started when Abellanosa passed an ordinance that sought the inclusion of his social services committee in the City Council among the members of the scholarship committee.
In their letter dated September 13, NUSP Cebu Coordinator John Lord Escatron said they want to know the rules, regulations and mechanics of the scholarship program.
They also want to know when the scholarship program began, how many scholars were enrolled per school and how many actually graduated.
Of the ACT's 9,000 student population, Abellanosa had said that some 3,000 to 4,000 of them are scholars of the City. These scholars form part of the 7,000 total beneficiaries of the City's scholarship program.
Aside from this, the student groups want to know the amount released to all the participating schools of the scholarship program and the amount per school.
Under the scholarship program of the City, which started during the term of former mayor now Representative Tomas Osmeña (Cebu City, south district), public high school graduates are entitled to a P10,000 cash assistance. Those living in the mountain barangays will get P20,000.
Sought for comment about the matter, Councilor Abellanosa said he hopes that NUSP and CEGP are not being used as political tools by parties with vested interests. He commented that lawyer Aristotle Batuhan, who is running against him for the south district congressional seat, is said to have ties with the said groups.
"They (NUSP and CEGP) should be ashamed of their tradition of protecting the welfare of the students if they will allow themselves to be used," Abellanosa said.
But Batuhan said his only ties with the two groups is that "we share the same advocacies for clean, transparent and accountable government."
"Let Abellanosa answer instead of questioning the motives of these groups," he added. (PDF of Sun.Star Cebu)
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 17, 2012.