PASAY CITY -- Senator Christopher “Bong” Go vowed to support and pursue measures that would strengthen the education sector and promote the best interest and welfare of students and teachers during the thanksgiving tribute organized by the Coordinating Council of Private Educational Associations of the Philippines (COCOPEA) for the authors of the Proprietary Educational Institutions Tax Act.
On Thursday, January 20, Go virtually joined the other authors and sponsors of Republic Act No. 11635 as they were lauded for the passage of the measure that effectively reduces the tax rate of proprietary educational institutions to 1% of their taxable income until June 2023. It was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on December 10 last year and significantly helped private schools and Filipino educators amid the pandemic.
In his video message, Go acknowledged the challenges faced by the educational institutions during the pandemic and reiterated the need for stronger government support to ensure that the education sector continues to deliver quality education to Filipino students.
“As we approach the second year of the pandemic, we have seen how our economy has been greatly affected by this calamity. Nakakalungkot man po isipin, isa sa mga lubhang tinamaan dito ay ang mga private educational institutions dahil pansamantalang itinigil ang mga face to face classes,” Go remarked.
“Napilitan pong mag-invest ang ilang mga paaralan ng napakalaking halaga para sa mga online learning systems, upang matugunan lang ang pangangailangan ng mga kabataan,” he continued.
The senator then expressed his optimism for the benefits of the law as he noted that this would significantly reduce the burden on private educational institutions and help the education sector as a whole, saying, “Being one of the co-authors and co-sponsors of this measure in the Senate, I only have the best interests of our education system and our youth at heart.”
“When we amended Section 27(B) of the tax code in (the) Congress, we clarified that private education institutions should indeed benefit from the lower tax rates in order to save our schools from closure due to financial difficulties, prevent unnecessary lay-offs of our educators, and most importantly, preserve the ‘second homes’ of our youth,” he explained.
Continuing his remarks, Go reaffirmed that the government will remain steadfast in supporting and boosting the education sector to ensure that private schools will be able to sustain their staff and even hire more teachers despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Sa mga guro at pati na rin ang mga kabataan, hindi po kayo dapat magpasalamat kasi trabaho naman po namin na pagaanin ang inyong mga pinapasan lalo na ngayong panahon ng pandemya,” Go said.
“Tulad nga ng sinasabi sa akin ni Pangulong Duterte, kailangan protektahan at sikapin na mabigyan ng magandang edukasyon ang mga kabataan dahil sila ang tulay sa magandang kinabukasan ng ating bayan,” he stressed.
Finally, he encouraged the educators and students to remain focused on their goals and not to lose hope.
“Ang tanging hiling ko lang po para sa ating mga guro, huwag po kayong magsawa sa inyong marangal na misyon. Para naman sa mga kabataan, mag-aral kayong mabuti upang matulungan ninyo ang inyong pamilya at ang ating bayan bilang responsableng mga mamamayan,” Go appealed.
“As we enter the new year, I have renewed hope that we will finally reach the light at the end of the tunnel. May we use this important measure to achieve bigger and better things for our country,” he ended.
Go was also instrumental in pushing for COCOPEA's request for the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act to include a one-time cash assistance for displaced teaching and non-teaching personnel who have lost their jobs or who have not received their wages.
The lawmaker also co-authored RA 11510, otherwise known as the Alternative Learning System (ALS) Act of 2021 that improves the delivery of basic education to the underrepresented and disadvantaged students. ALS provides students with specialized programs and alternative education approaches not available under the formal learning system.
On a related note, the senator also filed Senate Bill No. 396 which aims to expand the purposes and application of the Special Education Fund. It shall allow allocated funds to be used in the operation of ALS, including salaries, allowances, and other benefits of ALS educators. Furthermore, it allows local government units to maximize their resources and adopt new education policies and learning techniques.
In 2019, Go authored and co-sponsored RA 11466, otherwise known as the Salary Standardization Law 5, which gives civilian government employees, including teachers, another round of salary increases broken down in tranches.
He likewise co-authored SBN 1907 or the ‘Act of Instituting Services and Programs for Learners with Disabilities in Support of Inclusive Education’ in 2020. The proposed measure aims to improve the quality of education in the formal learning sector by providing free support services and programs to differently-abled learners. (OSBG)