Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Gordon: Tax on text needed for education bailout plan

The government needs to tax telecommunications corporations by as much as P200 million daily or P73 billion annually, representing about 10 percent of the approximately two billion text, messages sent daily through their systems, to finance a comprehensive bailout plan designed to improve public education system, Senator Richard J. Gordon said yesterday.

Gordon said this financial support, through the creation of his proposed Health and Education Acceleration Program (HEAP) Corporation, would also wipe out backlogs in school infrastructures. Formation of the HEAP Corporation is contained in Gordon’s Senate Bill No. 2402.

“These telecommunications companies (telcos) grew exponentially because of millions of Filipinos who used their services. It is just right that they give back in a manner substantial enough that it will end our problems with public education,” Gordon emphasized. From just 30,000 subscribers in the 1990s, there are now 72 million cell phone users.

The request by Gordon for congress to approve the measure came as public schools in the elementary and high school levels for the 2009-2010 school calendar throughout the country formally opened yesterday.

This developed as opposition Sen. Francis Escudero emphasized that the national government should immediately increase the allocation for DepEd to strengthen the country’s educational system which now lags behind its neighbors.

Although the Constitution mandates the education should have the highest budgetary priority, the reality is that it is not a matter of national policy.

“We have not been following this constitutional policy since our Charter was enacted in 1987. In reality, this highest budgetary priority being given money-wise is debt servicing. The second is the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) of government units. DepEd only ranks third,” Escudero said.

Another position legislator, Sen. Loren Legarda cited the severe setbacks of the country’s educational system continue to persist.

These setbacks, according to Legarda, consist of lack of school buildings, the overcrowded classrooms with about 100 pupils crammed on a small room, the low quality of education and the non-availability of textbooks and other paraphernalia for the pupils and students largely due to their financial capability.

--By. Mario Casayuran - Tempo

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