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Joy Belmonte linked to TESDA fund irregularity

Aug 27, 2015 @ 0:34

Did Quezon City Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte benefit from the funds of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA)?

The Commission on Audit (COA) said it has uncovered 11 bogus technical-vocational institutions (TVIs) that received multi-million peso funds from TESDA, one of which is allegedly run by House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte’s daughter.

The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), citing the 2013 audit report on TESDA, said the Quezon City vice mayor was listed as incorporator and president of “Ilaw ng Bayan” training center.

According to the Securities Exchange Commission (COA), Ilaw ng Bayan first registered in 1993 and is now listed as revoked.

It registered again in 2015 for this purpose: “to establish an educational scholarship/dormitory shelter, and/or other assistance for deserving disadvantageous students.”

But COA said Ilaw ng Bayan, as well as the 10 other TVIs, was “non-compliant” with TESDA’s training rules, and their project implementation marked with “discrepancies.”

They also received more funds but they trained fewer students across shorter training periods, COA said.

The e-Fund releases portal of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) show that at least 19 lawmakers had allocated between P12.5 million and P90.95 million of their pork barrel shares from 2010 to 2013 to the 11 TVIs named in COA’s report.

Ilaw ng Bayan and I-Connect Solutions Tek Bok Inc. were even described by state auditors as having not one of the livelihood programs that “could be associated with any of the programs per training regulations or competency-based curricula.”

PCIJ said the I-Connect Solutions Tek Bok Inc. listed the residential address of its board members Mark Rainier T. Luz (board chairman), Danilo Lingad, and Carla Bumagat as its office address, too.

But that same address belongs to two more entities: Margin Multi-Ventures and Construction Corporation, a private company, and the Party-list group 1-ABAA (1-Ako Babaeng Astig Aasenso), which ran but lost in the 2010 elections.

1-ABAA became controversial in 2010 when it proposed a law putting a 10-year cap on the validity of a marriage contract.

Margie Tajon was at that time named as the 1-ABAA president. A certain Margie Tajon Luz also appears as the president and board chair of another TESDA TVI, Gabaymasa Foundation. Inc., according to PCIJ.

In December 2014, the Ombudsman filed graft and malversation charges against Luz and Gabaymasa for their involvement in the so-called “fertilizer fund scam.”

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