The Tulong-Dunong Program (TDP) is the government platform aimed at providing financial assistance to qualified and deserving students. There are two types of this program - the CHED Tulong-Dunong Program covered by CHED-DBM Joint Memorandum Circular N0. 2017-2 dated May 24, 2017 with amendments covered by CHED-DBM Joint Memorandum Circular No. 2017-2A dated September 29, 2017.
The other one is the SUC Tulong-Dunong Program covered by CHED-DBM Circular No. 2017-3 dated May 24, 2017.As the titles of the guidelines suggest, the CHED TDP is to be implemented by CHED (Commission on Higher Education) and the SUC TDP is implemented by the SUCs (State Universities and Colleges) which in this case is the Mountain Province State Polytechnic College (MPSPC).
The MPSPC SUC TDP allocation of P 16,081,000 is part of the 2017 General Appropriations Act (GAA). However, this grant allocation covers School Year 2017-2018: First Semester (August – December 2017); Second Semester (January – May 2018). This obviously cuts across two (2) fiscal years.
For the first semester, the Budget and Fiscal Planning Office obligated the amount of P 8,919,000. Unknowingly to the Budget and Fiscal Planning Office, the amount covers not only the grantees whose applications were processed by the Scholarships and Grants Office of MPSPC but it also included continuing grantees whose grants were processed and renewed by the Mountain Province Congressional District Office. Although contrary to the provision of the SUC TDP guideline on fund release and disbursement which provides that, “Utilization of the fund shall be subject to the usual budgeting, accounting and auditing rules and regulations. This shall not be recorded or treated as trust fund receipts under any circumstance.”, the Budget and Fiscal Planning Office took the risk of obligating the amount of P 5,112,000 towards the end of the closing of books in December of 2017. Said obligation was based only on presumptive lists of would-be grantees for the second semester, submitted by the Scholarships and Grants Office. The difference in the obligation in the first and second semester didn’t cause any alarm for Ms. Leticia D. Napat-a, the Executive Director of the Finance Services of the College since it is a normal pattern that there are more students during the first semester than during the second semester. But far from anyone’s knowledge in the Finance Services Division, the obligation made for the second semester did not include the continuing grantees under the Mountain Province Congressional District Office. This honest mistake led to the reversion of P 2,050,000 to the government coffer as the total obligations only amounted to P 14,031,000 against the allocation of P 16,081,000.
Since then, several complaints have reached the Mountain Province Congressional District Office, a situation which immediately prompted Atty. Cyphrene Maxcel Y. Dalog to call the attention of the College President, Dr. Rexton F. Chakas regarding the apparent omission. In no time, the President summoned the VP for Administration and Finance, the Executive Director for Finance Services, the Executive Director of the Office of Students Affairs, the Director for Budget and Fiscal Planning and the Scholarships and Grants Coordinator to plan the administration’s course of action. This included requesting the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to release the reverted allocation as well as additional funds to pay the grantees that were not included. This effort failed as the request for release would require an act of Congress.
On separate occasions, Dr. Chakas and Atty. Cyphrene Maxcel Y. Dalog requested CHED-CAR OIC, Office of the Director IV, Ma. Geraldine F. Casipit for an audience to clarify the issues concerning the distinction in the implementation of the CHED and SUC TDP. Finally, in May 15, 2018, Director Casipit held a dialogue with Atty. Cyprene Maxcel Y. Dalog and the officers of the continuing grantees of the Mountain Province Congressional District Office at Archog’s Hotel. The meeting included the VP for Administration and Finance, the Executive Director of the Office of the Student Affairs, the Director for Budget and Fiscal Planning and the Scholarships and Grants Coordinator of MPSPC.
In the intervening time when all efforts to secure external funding for the deficit seem to have failed, Dr. Chakas compelled the Finance Services of the College to look into the possibility of accommodating the deficiency in the internal budget. He then promised to settle the obligation to the grantees in December of 2018 after the determination of savings when all target accomplishments across all the sectors of the College shall have been met.
The MPSPC Administration is requesting the affected parties, particularly the student-grantees and their parents for impartiality, sobriety and utmost patience and understanding as the lapses were due to several factors that were not deliberately and consciously committed nor foreseen.