The Eulogio Amang Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology (EARIST) Technozette, the official student publication of the state college, was unable to release an issue in the last three semesters due to their funds being withheld. The publication used to come out with three issues every semester.
The withholding of funds by the school administration stemmed from the issue of malversation of the publications’ funds by its Editor-in-Chief (EIC) in the academic year (AY) 2014-2015 Hannah Marie Pelayo, as stated in a resolution drafted after the September 14 meeting between the school administration and the new student paper EIC. Pelayo allegedly withdrew P373,000 of the publications funds without the knowledge and consent of the rest of the editorial board. This was only discovered when the EIC who succeeded Pelayo issued a check for the printing of the October 2015 issue of the school paper, but the checked bounced as the bank account had been emptied.
In a meeting between the school administration and the student paper’s EIC on September 14, they agreed in a resolution that the (1) printing of the paper “shall be settled temporarily thru direct payment after meeting necessary disbursements”, (2) cash advances should be made available upon meeting requirements in the student’ papers staff’s need to attend trainings and seminars and (3) charges would be against Pelayo.
The student paper’s current EIC, Precious Alyssa Anacta, continued to assert that “the student paper is a right of the students as enshrined in the Campus Journalism Act of 1991 and that the withholding of funds had worked against the rights and concerns of the students and the public.”
The school administration wanted the school paper to have an adviser that would be a co-signatory in the bank account, but Anacta said that the student paper’s funds should be managed and controlled by the editorial board in accordance with its constitution.
Anacta also said that getting an adviser is only at the option of the student paper’s members.
The school administration has also yet to issue the student paper staff a certification of the total collection for the student paper fees, for them to know how much the school was able to collect this semester for the student paper.
Based on previous certifications for AY 2015-2016 and AY 2016-2017, the collected student paper funds stood at almost P 1.5 million.
The school administration called for another meeting on October 12 to discuss the matters on the September 14 signed resolution on the unreleased student publication funds.