COCOPEA, school owners laud swift Lower House action on school tax bill

Published August 5, 2021, 6:51 PM

by Ben Rosario

Swift passage by the House of Representatives of the bill that grants proprietary educational institutions lower tax rate of 10 percent has won the applause of private school owners and alliances.

House of Representatives

The Lower House passed House Bill 9913 on second reading and is expected to complete the approval process as soon as session resumes after the end of the imposition of the enhanced community quarantine on August 20.

Sponsored on the floor by Negros Occidental Francisco “Kiko” Benitez, HB 9913 consolidated five similar legislative proposals also authored by Reps. Rufus Rodriguez (2nd District, Cagayan de Oro City); Joey Sarte Salceda, (2nd District, Albay); Luis LRay Villafuerte (2nd District, Camarines Sur); Joy Myra Tambunting (2nd District, Paranaque City) and Mark Go (Lone District, Baguio City).

Benitez, chairman of the House Committee on Housing and Urban Development, underscored the significance of the bill in correcting the Bureau of Internal Revenue’s questionable interpretation of the provision on such taxation in the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act.

Benitez said that instead of helping private schools overcome the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the BIR has burdened them further by raising the income tax rate from the previous 10 percent to 25 percent.

HB 9913 grants proprietary educational institutions the 10 percent preferential income tax rate beginning taxable year 2012 under certain conditions.

It also entitles all propriety educational institutions to a 1 percent preferential income tax rate beginning July 1 2020 until June 30, 2023.

Reacting to the swift passage of the measure the Coordinating Council of Private Edcucational Associations (COCOPEA) lauded the Lower House, in particular the House Committee on Ways headed by Salceda, for its swift action in correcting the tax issue.

In a statement, COCOPEA Managing Director Joseph Noel M. Estrada said the organization is grateful that “Salceda and his colleagues are moving vigorously for the swift passage of the bill.” “We likewise recognize with great appreciation the fast action of Majority Floor Leader Martin Romualdez for prioritizing HB 9913 in the plenary agenda,” Estrada said.

“We are hopeful that the bill can be signed into law before the new school year starts in earnest 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,” said Estrada.

He stressed that the legislative policy intervention will provide stability to education not only in this time of pandemic but also for generations to come, as it is crucial and complementary to any economic measures to revive our battered economy.

“We also thank House Speaker, Rep. Lord Allan Velasco for ensuring his commitment to help and support the private education sector, and the teachers, to rise above the challenges of this pandemic during his opening address at the start of this 3rd and last session of the 18th Congress, and give education the priority it rightfully deserves as enshrined in our Constitution,” said Estrada.

The COCOPEA statement was supported by the 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.