Race against time: Private schools ask for Senate intervention to avert 'collapse'

Published August 9, 2021, 1:02 PM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

To avert the collapse of many learning institutions in the face of a looming substantial increase in taxes, the country’s largest associations of private schools on Monday, Aug. 9, called for a “timely” intervention coming from the Senate.

(Photo from Unsplash)

Private school groups, led by the Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations (COCOPEA), said that with the few remaining number of days in the legislative calendar and the number of urgent measures lined up at the Senate, the passage of Senate Bill No. 2272 would be “crucial for the survival” of learning institutions.

“We are racing against time to have the law enacted within the 18th Congress,” COCOPEA Managing Director Joseph Noel Estrada said.

“This legislative policy intervention in providing stability to education not only in this time of pandemic but also for generations to come, is both crucial and complementary to any economic measure to revive our battered economy,” he added.

The private school groups also expressed hope that the Senate will soon pass SB 2272 granting preferential tax rates to educational institutions amid the pandemic, after most senators signed as co-authors of the proposed measure.

“We pray for our senators that they may continue to be filled with courage and the strength of purpose to urgently pass this landmark legislation for Philippine education within the 18th Congress,” Estrada said.

The educational groups also expressed hope that the bill would signed into law before the new school year starts 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.”

COCOPEA, an umbrella organization representing 2,500 schools nationwide, also urged other private education stakeholders to join them in the collective appeal and support to senators to “extend a lifeline” to the struggling schools during this pandemic.

This, Estrada said, will not only help ensure the continuity of learning for students but will also help secure the jobs of our teachers and personnel and to provide livelihoods for the many small businesses – such as carinderias, tricycle drivers – who are “dependent on our schools.”

Meanwhile, the groups also expressed gratitude to Senator Pia Cayetano, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means, Senator Juan Edgardo Angara, sponsor of SB 2272 and 14 other senators for their swift and decisive support of the bill which aims to amend Section 27(b) of the National Internal Revenue Code to secure with finality the grant of a preferential tax rate of 10 percent for proprietary schools, including the temporarily lowered rate of 1 percent during the pandemic, under the CREATE Act.