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Monday, July 15, 2024

Private schools seek passage of bill on tax relief

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The country’s largest associations of private schools expressed hope the Senate will soon pass Senate Bill No. 2272, granting preferential tax rates to educational institutions amid the coronavirus pandemic, after most senators signed as co-authors of the proposed measure.

In a joint statement, the groups led by the Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations (COCOPEA) expressed their gratitude to Senator Pia Cayetano, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, Senator Juan Edgardo Angara, sponsor of SB 2272 and 14 other senators.

They lauded the lawmakers’ swift and decisive support of the bill, which aims to amend Section 27(b) of the National Internal Revenue Code to secure with finality the grant of a preferential tax rate of 10 percent for proprietary schools, including the temporarily lowered rate of 1 percent during the pandemic, under the CREATE Act.

“We pray for our senators that they may continue to be filled with courage and the strength of purpose to urgently pass this landmark legislation for Philippine education within the 18th Congress,” the educational associations said in a joint statement.

Other senators who responded to the groups’ call for the urgent passage of SB 2272 amid the threat to the survival of many affected private schools throughout the country are Senators Joel Villanueva, Ralph G. Recto, Juan Miguel “Migz” F. Zubiri, Maria Lourdes Nancy S. Binay, Sherwin Gatchalian, Grace L. Poe, Richard J. Gordon, Francis “Kiko” N. Pangilinan, Risa Hontiveros, Emmanuel “Manny” D. Pacquiao, Ramon Bong Revilla Jr., Cynthia A. Villar, and Leila M. De Lima.

The private school groups also thanked Senator Franklin M. Drilon for strongly urging the Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Department of Finance to suspend RR 5-2021, which increases the tax rate on private schools, and Senator Leila De Lima for filing Senate Resolution No. 766, urging the President to suspend the implementation of RR 5-2021.

“We thank Senators Cayetano Angara, Drilon, Pangilinan, Villanueva, Hontiveros, Gordon, Marcos and Villar for verbally manifesting their support of SB 2272 during the June 30, 2021 hearing of the Ways and Means Committee,” said COCOPEA Managing Director Joseph Noel M. Estrada.

“We are also grateful that Chairperson Senator Pia Cayetano vowed on August 2, 2021 to move for the swift passage of the bill once the approved version of the House of Representatives’ counterpart authored by Congressman Joey Salceda and 75 other congressmen is transmitted to the Senate,” Estrada said.

The educational groups expressed hope that the bill would be signed into law before the new school year starts this August and September, “so that our schools can fully focus on dealing with the learning crisis and the COVID pandemic that our country is currently grappling with.”

“We also urge our many private education stakeholders to join us in our collective appeal and support to our senators to extend a lifeline to our struggling schools during this pandemic, to ensure the continuity of learning for our students, to secure the jobs of our teachers and personnel, and to provide livelihoods for the many small businesses (e.g. carinderias, tricycle drivers) who are dependent on our schools,” they said.

“With the few remaining days in the legislative calendar and the number of urgent measures lined up at the Senate, we are racing against time to have the law enacted within the 18th Congress. This legislative policy intervention in providing stability to education not only in this time of pandemic but also for generations to come, is both crucial and complementary to any economic measure to revive our battered economy,” the groups said.

COCOPEA is the umbrella organization representing 2,500 schools nationwide.

The joint statement was signed by Estrada; Dr. Anthony Jose M. Tamayo, chairman of COCOPEA and president of the Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities (PACU); Sr. Ma. Marissa R. Viri, president of Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP); Lourdes Almeda-Sese, president of Association of Private Schools, Colleges and Universities (PAPSCU); retired Judge Benjamin D. Turgano, president of Association of Christian Schools, Colleges and Universities (ACSCU); Fr. Onofre Inocencio Jr., president, of Technical Vocational Schools Association (TVSA); Prof. Vicente Antonio V. Pijano III, president of Davao Colleges and Universities Network Inc. and Association of Private and State Colleges and Universities in Region XI Inc.; Bernard Nicolas E. Villamor, president of Association of Cebu Private Schools; and lawyer Remelisa G. Alfelor-Moraleda, president of Bicol Association of Private Colleges and Universities.

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