Speaking through his hat PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 09 March 2017 11:51

By: Remedios F. Marmoleño

I wish House Speaker Panfilo Alvarez had carefully thought out his ideas on schools run by religious  groups  before he allowed himself to be quoted on why he is recommending that these schools should be made to pay taxes. He is entitled to his opinion, of course, but to spare this government from embarrassment  he should make more sense. .He is Speaker of the House, after all.  But reading the news item in which he expressed his position on this matter somehow made me feel he was just talking through his hat.

His justification of his proposal that religious schools  should be taxed stems from his claim that these schools are not really Non-Stock, Non-Profit as they claim. And what is the basis for this claim? That N-S-N-P  schools are  charging high tuition and that these schools effectively keep out students from poor families. Now if you are thinking of a good example for a non sequitur this is a good one.

Having spent many years working in a private school run by a religious group I have some knowledge of how things go in these institutions.

First there is CHEd, which has a  policy on what  process should be followed when a school intends to raise tuition. If the application of an HEI  to raise tuition  is approved there is a clear proviso on how the money realized by the new, raised tuition may be applied. I suggest that the House Speaker read this over again.

I also suggest that the Speaker get a clear understanding of the phrase “non-stock”.  Perhaps he should get the SEC to explain this to him if this is not clear enough to him.

The budget of a NSNP school is easy enough to understand. The projected income of a school is easy enough to arrive at: take the   number of students projected to enroll for a given semester and multiply that by the semestral fees. Add to this  income from non-educational activities ( e.g. canteen) and this will make the total revenue  of the school. When the computed expenses ( faculty/personnel  salaries, utilities expenses, etc.) are subtracted from the revenue we have the income of the school.

Of course the school must make some profit. Otherwise, how will it finance a new classroom that is urgently needed or replace outmoded computer units with newer models?

It will be another story if the  stock holders  of the school take home their share of the profits as dividends in a school that is said to be NSNP.

Populist proclamations from politicians like Speaker Alvarez should be taken for what they are worth : tokens to the public.