Albay legislators’ incentives exposed
By Elmer James Bandol
LEGAZPI CITY — A private college in Guinobatan, Albay has certified in writing that Vice-Gov. Harold Imperial together with three provincial board members and a town councilor have received an amount as “incentive” for their participation in the recruitment of students specifically grantees under the loan program by the provincial government supposed to be just “the tip of the iceberg.”
Document from PLT College, Inc., San Francisco, Guinbatan town showed that Imperial has received P7,000; while Board Members Herbert Borja, P4,500; Ireneo Sales, P3,750; Ramon Alsua, P21,000 and Guinobatan Councilor Julio Tingson, P44,750. This is part of their allotted quota under grand educational program dubbed as Albay Higher Education Contribution Scheme (AHECS) of Gov. Joey S. Salceda with funding support of P700 million loan from Land Bank of the Philippines.
The document signed by a certain Nenita R. Osia in lieu of the Acting College President, Ma. Nonette Osia-Tiam, states that the money was released in a form of checks to the local legislators in line with the college’s Recruitment Incentive Scheme for hosting student-grantees under AHECS that provides loan of P5,000 for every student for every semester until graduation depending on the course taken.
When asked to comment, Imperial said “I did not accept the amount, we don’t need it, though there is a contract signed with colleges and universities according to the choice of student-grantee but the provincial government will release the amount directly to the school.”
Imperial explained that under AHECS every Board Member is given 800 slots in 2010 and 300 each for 2011 while Salceda will have his own out of the 25,000 student-grantees targeted by the program aiming to have at least one college graduate for every poor family.
For local legislators alone, more than 13,000 students under their slots were accommodated since the program begun on June 16, 2010 and according to documents obtained by this paper, an amount of P120 million and P115 million were released by the government bank for the years 2010 and 2011 respectively.
The total amount of P235 miilion released is part of the P700 million loans by the provincial government payable in 12 years while paying for the initial draw down inclusive of two years grace period in principal and amortizing it in 40 equal quarterly payments with interest rate of 8.5% per year.
The proverbial hornets’ nest was stirred as “just tip of the iceberg” following the request for certification from PLT College, Inc., by Board Member Neil Montallana (Albay 2nd Dist.), regarding the amount of the “incentives” given to his fellows under AHECS which believed to have resulted to unplanned overhaul of the chairmanships of the different committees at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan during its regular session last Tuesday.