June 4, 2008
KIKO ON THE P2.9B GASTPE VOUCHER SYSTEM; URGES GOVERNMENT TO CLOSELY MONITOR THE IMPLEMENTATION
The P2.9B Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education (GASTPE) voucher has to be closely monitored following reports that government assistance akin to this had been syndicated for gain, Senate Majority Leader and Independent senator Kiko Pangilinan today said.
"As school opens the Department of Education (DepEd) must look into reports that the P2.9B GASTPE budget, wherein public school students are given tuition fee vouchers issued by the DepEd to allow them to enroll in private schools, is being abused by once blacklisted private schools. We have received reports that a number of schools purchase the vouchers from poor families at half the price then go on to collect the full amount from government thereby making one hundred percent profit. The children end up as out of school youths. This practice must be stopped and the perpetrators jailed," Kiko said.
Kiko maintains that any plan of action, whether immediate or long term, to address pressing social concerns goes down the drain if not properly implemented.
"We must guard against the terrible habit of government to throw huge amounts of money in the form of aid to try and solve problems, yet the said aid is squandered by poorly monitored and inefficient implementation. This year, the allocation for GASTPE is pegged at P2.9B. We challenge DEPED to go after these unscrupulous private schools. We shall also ask the DEPED to submit to the Senate the list of private schools that participate in the GASTPE voucher system in order to pinpoint possible liabilities, if any. We need to remain eternally vigilant and guard against abuses in the implementation of the GASTPE voucher system. We also call on Parents and Teachers Associations as well as legitimate private schools to help us in identifying the culprits so that the voucher system is implemented effectively." Kiko ended.
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