CHED chair asked to retire

MANILA -- A party-list lawmaker on Thursday said that Commission on Higher Education (CHED) chairperson Patricia Licuanan should consider early retirement.

Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta (PBA) Partylist Rep. Jericho Nograles made the statement following reports of anomalies surrounding the K to 12 Transition Program.

Nograles said he received hundreds of complaint letters from CHED faculty scholars under the said transition program regarding the delay in the release of their allowances.

The mismanagement of the PHP5.275 billion K to 12 Transition Program under the Office of Chairperson Patricia Licuanan is a preview of the implementation of the Free Higher Education Act, Nograles said.

The fact that thousands of scholars did not receive their monthly stipends on time, if at all, proves that Chairperson Licuanan is unfit for the job. She should consider early retirement to save the CHED some dignity amidst the anger of more than 4,000 educator-scholars," he added.

The lawmaker said it was "unconscionable" to suddenly inform these faculty scholars that their paperwork was lacking after qualifying them for monthly and yearly stipends under the CHED Memorandum Order No. 3.

What happened? Why is the Project Management Unit in Licuanan's Office adding more requirements after scholars submitted the full requirements under the CMOs? he asked.

Last December, Licuanan released a statement stating that the CHED was not equipped to handle 11,000 sets of scholarship documents and needed to hire additional manpower.

Nograles said if the agency could not handle 11,000 scholars, then it could not handle "millions more" when the Free Higher Education Act was implemented.

I have learned that the ultimate reason for the failure of the K to 12 Transition Program is internal politics within the CHED," he said.

Nograles said that Licuanan decided to create a new office called the K to 12 Transition Project Management Unit composed of new and contractual employees "who have no or little experience in scholarships."

He said scholarships were normally handled by seasoned career employees under the Office of Student Development and Services.

"I believe the CHED as an institution can handle the scholarships. Pero sinosolo ni Licuanan yung K to 12 Program sa opisina niya. Mahirap yan lalo na malaki ang budget (But Licuanan wanted to take the K to 12 program for herself under her office. That's difficult especially if it involves a big budget)," Nograles said.

Licuanan politicized the work... Now the scholars are demoralized. From the best and brightest, they have been transformed into beggars.

Nograles urged Congress to launch a probe into this CHED "negligence".

Even until now, Chairperson Licuanan's office is issuing additional requirements that don't seem to end. All the scholars who wrote to me have the same story to tell. The scholars comply and Licuanan denies, he said.

Source: Philippine News Agency

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