Council mulls transfer for ACT scholars
A proposal to allow scholars of the Asian College of Technology (ACT) to transfer to other schools so they can still avail of city cash assistance was met with resistance from the Cebu City Council and Mayor Michael Rama.
In a privilege speech, City Councilor Philip Zafra proposed amending the rules to allow the scholars to transfer to other schools.
“The scholars who went to my office complained of the uncertainty of their status due to the city government’s refusal to pay ACT due to the case filed against its president, Rep. Rodrigo Abellanosa of Cebu City’s south district before the Ombudsman,” Zafra said.
Graduates have been unable to get their transcript of records released because Cebu City refuses to pay P135 million to the school after Abellanosa was suspended for conflict of interest in a graft case. Students in lower years are considering to transfer.
The guidelines prevent scholars enrolled at ACT to transfer to other schools, originally to ensure easy and speedy monitoring of their records.
Councilor Gerardo Carillo said the situation of ACT scholars was a special case that merits an exception.
“I talked with the ACT scholars and they said they don’t want to be transferred. But due to the uncertainty caused by the case, (it isn’t the fault of the students if they transfer),” the councilor said.
Carillo said a dialog between ACT scholars and the Cebu City Scholarship committee ended with the committee considering to allow them to transfer and have their subjects accredited by the other school.
“This is a remedy we should look into. It will ease the uncertainty faced by these scholars,” he said.
Councilor Margot Osmeña disagreed, saying that amending the rules to favor ACT scholars would mean having to include scholars enrolled in other schools who may wish to transfer to another school.
She said schools have different curricula and subjects taken by scholars in one school won’t be credited by another school.
“So if you allow the scholar to transfer, whatever his or her predicament is, it may be more expensive for both the student and the city. Are we zeroing in on one school? The uncertainty that you have is caused by the fact that we have not been able to pay. So why don’t we pay?,” Osmeña said.
Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama said the city already filed a petition in court for declaratory relief so that the rights and duties of the parties in the dispute will be clarified. The city also wants to deposit the amount in court pending a resolution.
“The city government won’t run away from its obligation in connection with the scholarship but let us be guided by law,” Rama said.
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