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Monday, July 15, 2024

Senators cross party lines for correct private schools’ tax

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Private school associations have lauded members of the Senate for crossing party lines to pass a bill on second reading that will prevent the collapse of proprietary educational institutions in the face of a massive increase in tax rates amid the pandemic.

“We express our profound gratitude to the Senate for swiftly and favorably acting on Senate Bill 2407 entitled ‘An Act Clarifying the Income Taxation of Proprietary Educational Institutions,’” the associations said in a joint statement.

The proposed amendment will make private schools qualified for a concessionary tax rate of 1 percent under the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act (CREATE Act), instead of the 150-percent increase imposed by a recent regulation by the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

Signatories in the statement include the Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations (COCOPEA), which represents over 2,500 private educational institutions with over 300,000 school personnel; Davao Colleges and Universities Network (DACUN); Association of Private, State Colleges, and Universities in Region XI (APSCUR XI); Bicol Association of Private Colleges and Universities (BAPCU); and CESAFI Association of Cebu Private Schools.

Senate Bill 2407 seeks to amend Section 27(B) of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997 to rectify with finality the flawed interpretation of a provision under the CREATE Act which led to the imposition of a 150-percent increase in taxes on private schools.

“Hearing the impassioned sponsorship speeches for SB 2407 of Sen. Joel Villanueva, Sen. Ralph Recto, Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri, we are reassured that our legislature will not turn its back on private education in ensuring it gets the rightful share in the recovery and assistance measures that it grants to various sectors through the enactment of the CREATE Act,” said Dr. Anthony Tamayo, chairman of COCOPEA and president of Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities (PACU).

The associations also thanked Senators Sherwin Gatchalian, Risa Hontiveros, Francis Pangilinan, Francis Tolentino and Bong Go for manifesting their desire to be made co-sponsors of SB 2407.

“Indeed, Minority Floor Leader Sen. Frank Drilon has aptly described the overwhelming support on the passage of the clarificatory bill as bipartisan and an issue that crosses party lines for the sake of public interest. Education, as a public good, certainly deserves such significance and priority being given by our honorable senators. This was highlighted by the Senate’s immediate termination of the period of interpellation to substantially save time and expedite Senate approval of the measure,” said Tamayo.

Tamayo said with the approval by the Senate, the measure moved a step closer to its enactment into a law.

“We need this more than ever. With our enrolment numbers that continue to go down because of the pandemic, this economic and policy intervention from our senators empowers and uplifts our institutions in taking on the challenges in education particularly the current learning crisis of our students; preparations for reopening of schools to in-person classes; and the need to continuously strengthen our country’s human capital development in response to the fast-evolving digital economy,” Tamayo said.

He said that with just a few days left before the session breaks in October for the filing of the certificates of candidacy for the 2022 national elections, “we pray that SB 2407 be passed into law as soon as possible.”

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