04 April 2018 | news release


State universities and colleges and basic education public schools enjoy the clear advantage of full government subsidy while private schools raise their own funds to operate their schools. Add to that situation, the fact that schools run by the Catholic Church and other religious institutions enjoy tax privileges which the other private schools do not.

The private education sector is very highly regulated. DepEd, CHED, and TESDA combined have thousands of rules and regulations which the schools have no choice but to follow. In particular, the setting and allocation of increases in tuition and other school fees has been tightly regulated for decades.

I am of the opinion that all private schools, whether non-profit or for-profit, should be taxed the same. The playing field should be leveled.

Fair play taxation principles and rules must be applied because whether non-profit or for-profit, sectarian or non-sectarian, all those schools perform the same role in the service of the nation. In short, uniform and simplified tax rates must be applied.

The taxes applied to non-sectarian and for-profit schools ought to be the same taxes imposed on the non-profit and sectarian schools.

From the economics perspective, the tax privileges enjoyed by the sectarian and non-profit schools have the effect of state subsidy for those schools. This places the non-sectarian and for-profit schools at a clear disadvantage.

 Private schools are also handicapped by the continually rising salaries, benefits, and other compensation enjoyed by the public schools. Private schools’ faculty have been migrating to the public schools because the public schools’ compensation packages are much higher.

I am aware that the DepEd is preparing its data and inputs to the proposed TRAIN 2 taxation package bill now pending before the House Committee on Ways and Means. It can be expected that the CHED and TESDA will be doing the same.

After the free college education law, I believe government should also extend the private schools a bit of a helping hand.

Aside from leveling the playing field as to taxation, it is time for Congress to improve and expand the GASTPE Program embodied in the Education Act of 1982. GASTPE is Government Assistance to Students and Teachers in Private Education.

A follow-up to the K to 12 Transition Program for college faculty is needed because the impact of K to 12 on the colleges is not just for the two years equal to senior high. The full impact of K to 12 on colleges is four to five years. Therefore, the follow-up program should cover two to three years.

 A voucher program for college students is also necessary, so that those students who do not qualify for the free college program in SUCs can still avail of partial assistance from government in the form of student vouchers. (END)

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