TESDA: Results of investigation on ghost trainees out in September

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 28) — The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) is looking into an audit report that pointed to irregularities in government-funded skills training.

"We are now starting our own investigation to punish those who may be responsible for this," TESDA Director General Gene Mamondiong told CNN Philippines' The Source.

"By the second week of September, we'll be coming out with the results of the inspection," he added.

The Commission on Audit (COA) found that TESDA spent over ₱10 million in two potentially irregular skills trainings. About ₱9.3 million was given to the Sta. Mesa Campus of AMA Computer College for a JAVA and Software Development NC IV training for 310 scholars. Another ₱1.47 million was given to the Technivoc Institute Corporation (TIC) for barista training for 270 scholars.

The COA reported that it could not reach a majority of the scholars. It found that TIC did not physically exist, and 77 students of AMA Computer College who responded went to a different campus and did not attend any TESDA software development training program.

"With the fictitious reported scholars/trainees, the objective to produce skilled graduates to be productive/employable was defeated, instead, put government efforts and resources to waste," the COA wrote. "This also deprived other qualified beneficiaries to be scholars in that course under the program."

Mamondiong noted that the events COA recounted took place and 2015, and were discovered by the agency in 2016.

"The money has been refunded and deposited to the Bureau of Treasury," he said in an August 23 statement.

The district director who oversaw the project with AMA Computer College has since been moved.

"She is already assigned somewhere else," said Mamondiong, without naming the official. "She is still with TESDA, but as I said... we are conducting our own investigation to find out if this can be treated [as a] criminal [complaint] — what kind of action we can file against her."

The TESDA Chief added since he first took the position in 2016, he had 175 training centers and 6,273 programs closed as a result of a technical audit. TESDA runs about 123 of the 4,283 training centers nationwide.

District, regional, and provincial directors all over the country have also been reshuffled, he added.

Mamondiong said he has also organized a national inspectorate for TESDA last year. The body is tasked "to evaluate and gather information from the training centers." However, they are short on resources.

"We need 500 inspectors. We were only able to organize 150," he said. "I have to reduce [them] because we do not have the funds. What is left now is about 50."

Mamondiong has offered a ₱50,000 reward for anyone who could tip information on illicit activities involving TESDA. However, he said nobody has come forward.