House Ways and Means Committee OKs bills exempting three HEIs from paying tariff for books

Published August 10, 2020, 11:51 AM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

In less than seven minutes, the House Committee on Ways and Means approved on Monday substitute measures seeking to exempt from custom duties the importation of economic, technical, and cultural books or publications by three higher education institutions (HEIs), two of which are located in Mindanao.


During a virtual meeting, the House panel, chaired by Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Salceda,  passed the three unnumbered measures, which substituted House Bill  No. 262, authored by Occidental Mindoro lone District Rep. Josephine Ramirez-Sato; House Bill No. 1581, authored by Deputy Speaker and Basilan lone District Rep. Mujiv Hataman; and House Bill No. 1981, authored by Iligan City lone District Rep. Frederick Siao.

Sato’s HB 262 seeks to convert the Occidental Mindoro State College (OMSC) in the province of Occidental Mindoro into a state university to be known as the Occidental Mindoro State University (OMSU).

Sato said the conversion of the OMSC into OMSU will have greater impact in the advancement of higher education and professional development of more than 4,000 students from different parts of the island of Mindoro and nearby provinces in their chosen field of specialization.

“Furthermore, it will greatly contribute as an economic stimulus in the  province,” she added.

Hataman’s HB 1581 intends to turn the Basilan State College (BASSC) in the city of Isabela in Basilan province into a state university to be known as the Basilan State University (BASSU).

“This bill aims to give reform to its educational system equal to the standard of a university. The conversion of Basilan State College to state university will open more opportunities for advanced education and professional training in research and in the students’ chosen fields of education,” he said.

Anak Mindanao partylist Rep. Amihilda Sangcopan co-authored HB 1581.

Siao’s HB 1981 aims to  convert the Iligan City National School of Fisheries  (ICNSF) in Barangay Buru-un, Iligan City in Lanao del Norte, into a polytechnic state college to be known as Iligan City Polytechnic State College (ICPSC).

“Converting the ICNSF into a Polytechnic State College will make Iligan City home to a viable educational institution that will be vital in helping further develop and strengthen the country’s fisheries’ industry,” Siao said.

He said his bill seeks to widen the curriculum of the ICNSF and “address the needs of the growing student population in Iligan City and its neighbouring provinces and municipalities for easier access to quality and affordable education.”

The panel-approved substitute measures that provide for the importation by the OMSU, BASSI, and ICPSC of economic, technical and cultural books or publications, which are for economic, technical, vocational, scientific, philosophical, historical, or cultural purposes, and shall, upon certification by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), be exempt from customs duties in accordance with the provisions of Republic Act No. 10863, the “Customs Modernisation and Tariff Act (CMTA).”

It was Nueva Ecija 1st district Rep. Estrellita Suansing, vice chairperson of the House panel, who moved for the approval of the three substitute measures.