LINGAYEN, Pangasinan – More cues of irregularities of the On-the-Job Training (OJT) program of the Pangasinan State University (PSU) cropped up as the university administration failed to shed light on its OJT mess.
“It’s very obvious that the students were made to work rather than undergo OJT. That’s clearly exploitation,” Board Member Jeremy Agerico Rosario stressed during the third Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) Ad Hoc committee inquiry on PSU – OJT issue held recently at the SP session hall.
Despite an invitation sent to PSU, officials of the lone state-run university in the province involved in the school’s OJT issue failed to appear during the SP probe which is conducted mainly to suggest inputs and recommendations for the good of the OJT program.
“Could it be that personalities allegedly involved in the PSU – OJT irregularities have opted not to come anymore because more issues might crop up?” BM Rosario pointed out during the committee hearing.
Ad Hoc committee chairperson Noel Bince bared that PSU officials which include President Dexter Buted, School of Advanced Studies Dean Adonis Bautista, PSU San Carlos City officials led by Executive Director Valentin Calpo, College Dean Evelyn Lomboy, OJT coordinator Maria Theresa Diaz and Josephine Reyes, a faculty, linked to the OJT issue will be summoned to appear during the question hour of SP session on October 3.
“Only Dr. Adonis Bautista, former OJT Coordinator of PSU San Carlos, who introduced the JIF agency to the PSU students, could settle the issue,” BM Rosario said.
It can be recalled that irregularities of the PSU – OJT program surfaced in May when a certain Dharel dela Cruz, one of the 43 PSU students from San Carlos and Bayambang campuses who were employed as ‘regular workers’ in a laboratory in Laguna, was hospitalized due to the unfavorable working environment in said laboratory where they were deployed by the JIF agency for their supposed OJT.
Dr. Bautista has not given any statement since Dela Cruz became a whistle blower to the ‘anomalous’ OJT practices in PSU.
It was learned during the committee hearing that the 33 students from PSU San Carlos campus and 10 others from Bayambang campus were introduced by the JIF manpower agency represented by a certain Joyce Finuliar to the Bionic Care Human Resources Services that took charge for their wages as ‘regular workers’ of the Interphil laboratories.
Dela Cruz, for his part, reiterated that they were lured by Dr. Bautista to work in Laguna with a good offer, but admitted that they were asked to conceal their identity as ‘students’ on their supposed OJT.
Dela Cruz likewise recounted that when he was sick, PSU officials have offered to shoulder his hospitalization bills should he recant his previous statements about the unscrupulous OJT practices in PSU.
Sharing inputs on the PSU – OJT probe, Department of Labor and Employment Office (DOLE) Region 1 representative Honorina Baga said that it is the ‘first time’ that they encountered such OJT system.
The usual thing, Baga said, is that the school transacts directly to the host training institution, without a middle agency.
The SP also came up with a provincial resolution to the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Central Office – Office of Legal Services and the Office of the Student Affairs to conduct indepth investigation regarding the anomalies in PSU OJT program.
CHED Region 1 Education Supervisor previously noted that while investigation is ongoing, acceptance of enrollees for the degree program shall be suspended.
Meanwhile, Board Member Chinky Perez-Tababa said that the SP bats for the welfare of PSU students, most especially that the provincial government has thousands of sponsored provincial scholars enrolled in PSU.
“Recommendations for OJT program is shared not only for PSU, but for all higher education institutions (HEIs) in the province, either public or private,” she said.
By Dexter A. See