The government has not been giving scholarships to children of barangay officials ever since the educational grant was mandated 22 years ago when the Local Government Code was enacted in 1991.
This sad fact was revealed during the recent public hearing of the Senate Committee on Local Government, chaired by Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr., in line with his bill (Senate Bill No. 12), and other similar proposed measures, which all sought to give retirement and other benefits to barangay officials and volunteer workers.
“Iyung sa scholarship…napapag-usapan, nasa batas pero hindi naibibigay,” Marcos said.
During the hearing, Carmencita N. Delantar, director of the Department of Budget and Management, said that 15 years ago, they had already calculated that some P6 billion was needed to implement the program at that time.
“At that time, the number of barangays was not as big as now. We have 42,028 already. At that time, Sir, we made some calculations and that was already to the tune of P6 billion,” Delantar told Marcos.
She also said the DBM couldn’t even come up with an exact amount needed to implement the scholarship program because the Local Government Code of 1991, enacted on October 10, 1991, didn’t set a limit on the number of scholars to be covered.
Under Section 393, paragraph B, sub-paragraph 5 of the law, barangay officials shall “be exempted during their incumbency from paying tuition and matriculation fees for their legitimate dependent children attending state colleges or universities…”
“To come up now with the exact or absolute funding requirement is not very feasible because it (law) has no limitation, let’s say, (for example) for a maximum of six or four children, then you can come up with a specific funding requirement,” she said.
Marcos said the government should come up with a way to implement the scholarship program since the meager income of barangay official insufficient to send their children to college.
“While the government should be giving scholarships, we are not giving it, for one reason or another. Of all the government workers, it’s the barangay officials who need this kind of government assistance the most,” he said.
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