Press Release
September 30, 2010

After TESDA budget hearing

DRILON: The budget of TESDA for 2011 is P2,961,423,000, that includes retirement and life insurance premium. In the course of our examination of the budge, we looked at previous years' expenditures as a matter of course, and in this particular case, we looked at 2010 and 2009. What we noted is an extra-ordinarily large appropriation for training and scholarship expenses which in 2009 amounted to P5,660,000,000 per testimony of Dir. Gen. Joel Villanueva... in terms of actual expenses. This is what was known as the President Gloria Scholarship Program. This was designed to provide scholarships for 409,800 scholars. This, to me, is the biggest scholarship program in the entire bureaucracy, and this was implemented through what they call a Scholarship Voucher. The scholarship vouchers bear this picture of President Arroyo and (former) Dir. Gen. Boboy Syjuco. These, I must emphasize, are vouchers, meaning it is represented that these vouchers have funds to back it up. Why? Because these vouchers are used as payment for the training in the TESDA-accredited training centers. In other words, if you are a scholar, you are given this voucher as payment and you can use this voucher to pay for your training expenses in the training centers accredited by TESDA. What happened was that the vouchers issued were far in excess of what was authorized. While the budget was only for 409,800 scholars, 696,313 vouchers were issued as against a budget of only 409,800 scholars; and therefore 286,513 scholarship vouchers were not funded to the tune of P970 million. So these training centers accepted students and scholars on the basis of scholarship vouchers which turned out to be unfunded, just like bouncing checks. They issued vouchers without appropriate funds. And therefore, in effect, these vouchers bounced because there were no funds to back it up. It's a matter between the issuer of the voucher--Mr. Syjuco--and the training centers which were duped and fooled by this representation of scholarship vouchers allegedly backed up by funds when in fact there were no funds available. Mr. Syjuco was warned by TESDA officials that there were no funds for these vouchers, as testified to by TESDA officials, but nevertheless, they were issued.

Likewise, under this Pangulong Gloria Scholarship Program, the sum of P134,383,504 was spent for promotion activities, including advertisement in the Pacquiao fight, Sarah Geronimo was used to advertise the program... including P62 million worth of t-shirts. This is a classic case of how government funds were abused:

Payment of commercials - P24,859,000 Purchase of t-shirts as advocacy materials for President Gloria Scholarship Program - P65,999,979.36 Printing of TESDA Career Gold Cards - P2.8 million

So we are bringing out all of this because we do hope that this is not repeated. Also, there was a memorandum of agreement entered into between and among Cong. Judy Syjuco, Tagi Puso On Cooperative and TESDA--where about P100 million of the PDAF or pork barrel of Cong. Judy Syjuco was transferred to the Tagi Puso On Foundation. Another P100 million from TESDA funds were put into the Tagi Puso On Foundation. TESDA was headed by Cong. Boboy Syjuco. Tagi Puso On Foundation has an office address on the same street as the house of Cong. Syjuco. This is supposedly for training but it was used to purchase school supplies. That's about P200 million in public funds according to the testimony of TESDA officials--P100 million came from PDAF and another P100 million came from TESDA on a span of five years since 2005. Up to this point, substantial portions of these funds have not been liquidated.

Q: (inaudible)

DRILON: There are no funds available for this because their releases were issued far in excess of what was authorized.

Q: Who should settle it?

DRILON: Syjuco should settle it.

Q: Anong address ng foundation?

DRILON: Tagi Puso On Foundation has an address on Rodriguez St., Sta. Barbara, Iloilo.

Q: Anong nangyari sa mga na-issue-han ng unfunded vouchers?

DRILON: Naghahabol sila ngayon because the unfunded vouchers were used as payment for the training. So these are now in the hands of the training centers.

Q: So nalugi yung training centers?


Q: No government guarantee?

DRILON: There is no government guarantee for this. (Reading a portion of the voucher) 'Ang ganda ng buhay mo. Pangulong Gloria Scholarship'

Q: Sinong pwedeng habulin?

DRILON: Bahala yung training centers kung sinong hahabulin nila, because they were issued in effect bouncing checks.

Q: Ano ang pwedeng ikaso sa kanila?

DRILON: There can be estafa for this because you misrepresented that these vouchers are backed by funds.

Q: Against Syjuco?

DRILON: Against Syjuco. There can be some liability.

Q: Yung foundation sa Syjuco yon?

DRILON: The Tagi Puso On Foundation has offices on the same street as the residence of Cong. Syjuco. Per records of the SEC, it's on Rodriguez St., Sta. Barbara, Iloilo.

Q: Who manages the foundation?

DRILON: It's not on the record.

Q: Sino nakinabang sa school supplies?

DRILON: I do not know.

Q: (inaudible)

DRILON: In fact the director-general was complaining that these were not used for training. This was used for school supplies.

Q: So may violation? They diverted the funds?

DRILON: It was supposed to be for training and that was the purpose of this MOA executed.

Q: Who will file the charges?

DRILON: First it's up to the training centers who are holding these unfunded vouchers to take action.

Q: Technical malversation pwede yun dun sa pag purchase ng school supplies?

DRILON: Maybe. This can be made out of that but I'm not sure. I have not seen all the documents.

Q: Meron bang verification na there are scholars?

DRILON: These are among the things that TESDA is investigating now.

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