BAYBAY CITY, Leyte – A failure in communication?
On June 28, 2017, students swarmed to the University Student Services Office (USSO) in a rush to comply the required documents for the 5000-peso grant by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED).
However, students raised questions about the aid's conditions, procedure, and requirements.
Amaranth was able to reach Prof. Manolo B. Loreto, Jr., VSU's Dean of Students, while he was in Manila on official travel.
1. Why the late notice?
According to Prof. Loreto, CHED Regional Office VIII released an initial memo last February 17, asking for a list of students affected by the supertyphoon Yolanda. There was no mention about the 5,000-peso aid, only "to identify prospective beneficiaries in the granting of financial assistance for the Typhoon Yolanda affected areas".
He clarified however, that they did not disseminate the info immediately because “it’s CHED, we cannot just move without the final instruction from CHED”.
When the official memo finally arrived on his desk, it was in the afternoon of June 27, 2017 and he was already in Manila to attend the briefing on free tuition for SUCs.
“We received the memo last 27, I was out, I was just called up by Dr. Tulin, that there was a new memo from CHED that was forwarded in my office,” Loreto said.
It could be noted, however, that June 26 was declared a non-working holiday in honor of Eid'l Fitr, the end of Ramadan.
2. When exactly is the deadline?
Among many discrepancies was the deadline for submission of the required documents.
The cut for documents that circulated in VSU was June 28, 2017 – the date listed by CHED in its memo – that sent students into frenzy to rush home to obtain and pass their respective papers.
But Loreto explained that the said date was only the listing of students, which was already pitched to CHED. The deadline for the documents will be Monday next week, July 3, 2017.
“..28 is only the listing, so we have to submit the list. But, for the documents, the supporting documents, we have to submit that by July 3,” said Loreto.
3. Why the priority courses?
Many students cried foul over this matter.
Amaranth's research showed the memo from CHED's Central Office and Regional Office VIII made no mention about priority courses. However, sources in the administration said that the list of priority courses was attached along with the memos "without explanation".
“The priority courses were already identified by CHED long before. They released a new list of priority courses last December or January this year,” said Loreto.
Amaranth tried to reach CHED Regional Office VIII in Tacloban City, but was informed that work has been suspended as of Friday because of Tacloban's fiesta celebration.