Private schools ask Duterte to reverse BIR rule

Published June 4, 2021, 4:58 PM

by Chino S. Leyco

The Coordinating Council for Private Educational Associations (COCOPEA) has appealed for President Duterte’s intervention to reverse a Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) regulation increasing their tax rate.

In an open letter dated June 4, 2021 released by COCOPEA, about 600 private schools and stakeholder groups have asked the chief executive to reverse the BIR’s regulation increasing the tax rate of private education institutions by 150 percent.

The appeal by COCOPEA, with over 2,500 member schools, and education stakeholders nationwide petitioned for the correction of alleged “onerous and erroneous provisions” of BIR Revenue Regulation 5-2021 (RR 5 – 2021).

“We appeal to you, Mr. President, to make our tax laws consistent with your vision and the constitutional mandate of ensuring access to education for all Filipinos,” the petition said.

“Specifically, RR 5-2021 unilaterally and illegally inserted wording inconsistent with both Section 27 ( of the Tax Code as amended by CREATE [Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act], and the Constitution,” it added.

According to COCOPEA, the BIR’s regulation will cause “irreparable damage” to private education institutions as the bureau will more than double their existing tax rate from 10 percent to 25 percent.

The groups warned that, many individuals will be directly affected by RR 5-2021, such as those academic, athletic, working student and needs-based scholars, and our faculty and staff.

Members of the communities built around schools, such as school uniform sewers, cafeteria workers, carinderias, sari-sari stores, dormitories, janitorial/security services, school bus drivers/helpers, bookstores, book suppliers, among other, will also be severely affected, COCOPEA said.

The letter was signed by COCOPEA, Davao Colleges and Universities Network Inc. (DACUN), Association of Private, State Colleges, Universities in Region XI (APSCUR XI), and hundreds of educational, parent, alumni and employee associations from around the country.

The petitioners warned that, RR 5-2021 will severely harm the schools, parents, students, teachers, employees and, other stakeholders in the private education sector, which is a large and vital partner of the government in providing quality education nationwide.

“The erroneous provision of RR 5-2021 will add a heavy additional burden to the many stakeholders of the private education sector, at a time when we are already fighting for our survival,” the group said.

“Our sector has not yet recovered from the debilitating effects of the K-12 Law, and is in the midst of struggling with the steep drop in enrollment caused by the pandemic. RR 5-2021 will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back,” it added.