By Hannah Torregoza
Senator Nancy Binay has sought passage of a bill that would give 10-percent reduction in the taxable income of employers, who will hire employees who are Alternative Learning System (ALS) graduates, or allow their workers to participate in ALS courses.
Tax incentives, Binay said, will be a great reward for these employers as their laudable objectives ought to be recognized and commended.
“Given the laudable objectives of ALS, and in order to hearten greater participation of the population in the ALS and ensure access to jobs of ALS learners, this Act extends tax incentives to employers who hire ALS learners and graduates from all over the country,” Binay said in the explanatory note of her Senate Bill No. 1046.
Senate Bill No. 1046, entitled “Alternative Learning System Learners and Graduates Incentives Act,” has been read on first reading, and referred to the Senate committees on labor, employment and human resources development and ways and means.
The bill primarily proposes a 10-percent slash in the taxable income of employers based on the gross salaries of employees who are either ALS learners or ALS graduates.
ALS learner refers to individual seeking literacy skills and functional life skills or support services for the improvement of the quality of his/her life whose participation in the ALS has been certified by the Department of Education (DepEd).
ALS graduate, on the other hand, refers to any individual who has completed the program of the ALS system and obtained a diploma.
The bill seeks to grant employers – whether corporate or otherwise – who hire ALS graduates or allow their current employees to participate in the ALS—claim a deduction equivalent to 10 percent of the ALS learners’ and ALS graduates’ gross salaries.
However, the said tax deductions shall not exceed 10 percent of the employer’s taxable income.
ALS is envisioned to be a parallel learning system in the Philippines that provides a practical option to the existing formal instruction.
Binay said that as a flexible, free education program of government, ALS has benefitted many who cannot afford formal schooling, including those whose adult life responsibilities have given them tighter schedules and opportunities for education.
The Governance of Basic Education Act of 2001 also known as RA 9155, established the ALS as a means to provide out-of-school children, youth and adults alike with basic education.
According to the senator, statistics from the DepEd’s Bureau of Alternative Learning System (BALS), which carries out the program, showed that most participants are fishermen, babysitters, maids, salesladies and out-of-school youths.
In filing her proposed bill, Binay pointed out it is the declared policy of the state to encourage initiatives and adopt measures to protect and promote the right of all citizens to quality basic education across all ages, improve work opportunities and widen access to employment.